Healing begins as slain officer is laid to rest
Published: October 15, 2012
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ST. THOMAS - The Virgin Islands laid to rest fallen V.I. Police Officer Colvin Georges on Saturday as family, friends and public officials called for the territory to begin healing and to learn from the act of violence that claimed Georges' life.
Under grey skies, the funeral service at the Ivanna Eudora Kean High School gym came to an emotional climax as Kamilah Thompson recalled being with Georges as he fought for life in a Miami hospital. She told stories about how Georges, who was paralyzed when shot while on duty in May, began to eat, speak and breathe on his own again. Even in the hospital, Georges thought of others first, as in when staff brought food.
"He would say give the rest to Kamilah, she needs her strength," Thompson said.
In the weeks before he died Sept. 29, Georges would talk about unhooking himself from the hospital equipment and going home.
"Little did I know you meant your heavenly home," Thompson said.
Thompson said you could see the pain in Georges' face in his final days and she came to understand that it was time for him to stop fighting.
"Now you're out of your pain and suffering, and for that I can be grateful," she said.
Georges' son, Colvin Georges Jr., delivered the eulogy, describing his father as a generous, "glass half-full" person.
"He always seemed to put others first," he said.
He also remembered his father's sense of humor.
"Even being hooked up to a ventilator and always in pain could not stop my father's sense of humor," he said.
The ceremony included remarks by a number of public officials, including Police Commissioner Henry White Jr. and St. Thomas-St. John Police Benevolent Association Local 816 President Cpl. Elroy Raymo.
Gov. John deJongh Jr. said the territory has "clamored for answers" since the night Georges was shot.
"There are very few words that can be found to fill the hole that is in your hearts today," deJongh said.
He connected the attack on Georges and fellow officer Aaron Hodge to the Aug. 18 shooting of St. Croix Police Chief Christopher Howell and Police Officer Elsworth Jones. Howell and Jones were shot trying to apprehend several gunmen who robbed Eat at Cane Bay Restaurant.
"Evil things happen to good people," deJongh said, paraphrasing a passage from the Book of Job.
As the ceremony drew to a close, Vanessa Bellot, a cousin of Georges who played a central role in organizing support efforts in the Virgin Islands, recalled growing up with Georges. She said she and Georges' families would compete about whether she or Georges, who were born four days apart, walked first or talked first.
"Yours truly always won," Bellot said.
She said Georges always had lots of candy money growing up and he would look out for her at every turn. Bellot also thanked the community for sticking with Georges and said the fallen officer is now free from suffering.
"My cousin is no longer paralyzed and dependant on a ventilator," she said. "He is now the Colvin we all knew and remember."
- Contact reporter Lou Mattei at 714-9124 or email email@example.com.