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HomeNewsLocal newsFire-EMS Director Daryl 'Mousey' George Remembered as a Caring, Visionary Leader

Fire-EMS Director Daryl ‘Mousey’ George Remembered as a Caring, Visionary Leader

A sudden illness claimed the life of V.I. Fire Service Director Daryl A. George Sr. on Tuesday. (Official government photo)

The director of the V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services was a dedicated first responder and a kind and decent human being, local leaders said Tuesday. Director Daryl A. George Sr. died Tuesday after a sudden illness, which led to his hospitalization over the weekend.

Those who mentored George recalled how he rose through the fire service ranks, one of the first to join the ranks from a youth program called Junior Firefighters. He also served as a union leader and later as assistant director before being picked as the agency head by former Gov. John deJongh.

He was known as Mousey because of his height, but George was also known for possessing standout leadership skills. One of his last achievements was overseeing the merger of Fire and Emergency Medical Services into a modern first-responder entity.

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. was one of the first to speak out after hearing of George’s death on Tuesday. The governor called him family, someone he had known since childhood.

“It is with a profound sense of grief and loss that we announce the untimely passing of a dedicated public servant and cherished member of my cabinet,” Bryan said. “One of his most enduring legacies was his tireless advocacy for the merger of the Virgin Islands Fire Service with the Virgin Islands Emergency Medical Services to create VIFEMS. Under his steadfast leadership, VIFEMS became a model of efficiency, responsiveness, and care. His dedication and relentless passion for this cause demonstrated his vision for a safer and stronger Virgin Islands,” the governor said.

The governor ordered all flags in the territory to be flown at half-staff in George’s honor.

Former Fire Service Director, Senator, and current head of the Port Authority Carlton Dowe spoke with pride about the junior firefighter he hired as one of the first to transition from the program.

Dowe said from the time George was young, he would spend weekends visiting the fire stations. When he got older, George would work in the area of a spot where firefighters would patronize after hours, where he got to know and made friends with some of them.
“I remember at Lockhart School it was him, David Hodge, and Melvin Harrigan. I was a firefighter then, and I remember saying one day, I will be director and you will all be officers, and some of you — one day — will run the department,” Dowe said.

“I know him. We spent a lot of time together, but it shows what persistence and dedication can lead to,” Dowe said. “He lived and breathed that place.”

St. Thomas-St. John district Sen. Dwayne DeGraff called George “a fellow Savaniero,” having grown up together in that historic neighborhood.

“A veteran firefighter, he served for more than 20 years within the agency working his way up to the role of director. He also served as program coordinator for the Junior Firefighter Corps for many years,” DeGraff said.

Senate President Novelle Francis called himself fortunate to have worked alongside George to draft the law creating the V.I. Fire Emergency Medical Service. “Mousey’s passing is a huge loss to the public safety and first responder community,” Francis said in a statement issued Tuesday. “The entire territory has benefitted from his vision, leadership and advocacy.”

Senator-at-Large Angel Bolques noted George’s “kindness, unwavering integrity, and dedication to his profession,” while Sen. Donna Frett Gregory echoed a sentiment expressed by all those offering condolences on Tuesday.

“There are no words that will lessen the grief and sadness we all feel today, especially those felt by his family, friends, the men and women of the Fire and Emergency Medical Services and his fellow cabinet members. However, may we all be comforted in knowing that Daryl George was a good man who lived a good life and gave of himself to make our community better,” Frett-Gregory said.

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