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Remembering former Hattiesburg Fire Chief George Herrington

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 5:54 PM CST
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - People in Hattiesburg are remembering and honoring the life of former Fire Chief George Herrington.

Herrington led the Hattiesburg Fire Department as chief for 10 years, served in the United States Air Force and worked with the Veterans Committee.

Chairman of the Hattiesburg Veterans Committee, Ted Tibbett, says Herrington was a good friend who was dedicated to helping others.

“Over the years George was a friend of mine, and I was a friend of his. He was a family man. He was very much concerned about the veterans and his family. He loved God, country and family. So I always remember that about him and sad that he has left us, so it’s up to us to make sure that we continue the mission that we started to make sure this is a veterans’ community,” says Tibbett.

Herrington was Hattiesburg’s Veteran of the Year in 2016. He was an active member of the committee that established Hattiesburg’s Veterans Day traditions.

“George did a lot of this, and he is going to be sadly missed, and I know he’s upstairs right now looking down on this beautiful park. The flag that’s flying at half-staff in his honor,” says Tibbett.

Herrington retired from the Air Force as Chief Master Sergeant, the highest rank given to an enlisted soldier. He spent time in the reserves until he was called to active duty and spent time in Kuwait.

“I remember when I went in the service, I was a young guy and most people were. George, I mean, he had served during that time period, but when he went overseas, he was a man with grown kids. And he had a family back here, and I can remember talking to his wife Diane, and she said George is going overseas, and I thought we’re all too old. We’re grown can’t be doing that. But George went, and did a great job,” recalls Tibbett.

Mayor Toby Barker says Herrington’s work as fire chief made the city better and safer, leaving a stronger force behind him.

“He came here in 1973 and was chief in 91 to 2001, which is a long stint for Fire Chief in Hattiesburg. He had a planning degree from Southern Miss, and so he really helped kind of modernize our approach to fire suppression and bringing in the process where building plans for economic development were checked by fire inspector and he really kind of had a hand in that,” explains Barker.

Barker says Herrington stayed dedicated to taking care of first responders even after his time as chief.

Herrington was an advocate for the cost of living increases for fellow first responder retirees.

“When I was in the state representative, my second or third year, I remember him coming to the council and the legislature asking for that, and I was lucky enough to author that bill to make that happen. And then fast forward, you know, 10 years later, and I’m mayor and he comes again,” says Barker.

Friends and co-workers say Herrington will be remembered as an encouraging servant leader who was easily recognizable in the community.

“The legacy he leaves not only as fire chief, but all the things he did since 2001, since he retired the 20 years after that. Giving back to the community of being a mentor, being an example and then fighting for people who needed someone to speak for them because they weren’t around to speak for themselves,” says Barker.

Funeral Services Herrington will be Saturday, Nov. 27 at Temple Baptist Church (5220 Old Hwy 11). Visitation will start at 9:30 a.m, and the service will begin at 11 a.m. Graveside service to follow at Highland Cemetery.

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