Service with humility is a rare trait in a society where people are sometimes prone to tout their own good works and often do them merely for the accolades they receive.
But down in Harrells, there’s a man who exemplifies the best in service and performs that service with great humility. What’s more he’s been doing it all his life — in his church, in his community and within his family — never expecting anything in return.
For that service, Harrells Fire Chief George McGill was honored last weekend with one of the state’s most prestigious honors, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine. No one could be more deserving.
With his strong work ethic, a spirit of cooperation and an unmatched tenacity when it comes to doing things for the Harrells Fire Department, the Harrells community and the county that he has always called home, McGill embodies the heart of a servant.
He has dedicated 50 years of his life to the Harrells Fire Department, serving as its chief since the age of 21. Never a figure head, McGill has always been the type of man who rolls up his shirtsleeves and goes right to work, doing whatever is needed, whether it’s cleaning the station or working to raise money to make a good fire department even better.
During his long tenure, McGill has been instrumental in the construction and maintenance of a new building, growing the department to 45 members, starting a satellite station in Ivanhoe and leading fundraising efforts that have benefited the department year after year.
Think Harrells Tractor Pull, an eagerly anticipated event held every year in the southern Sampson town. McGill has been responsible for the success of the pull and the fund-raising dollars it brings in year after year. While he didn’t do it alone, there’s no question he’s been the driving force behind its success.
Whenever and wherever there is an opportunity to promote the town he loves or the fire department he calls his second home, McGill can be found, leading the charge and urging others to follow suit. He never does it for the thanks or the applause, McGill does it because he knows it will make a difference in the lives of citizens in Harrells and, in many ways, Sampson County.
Visionary in many ways, the long-time fire chief has always seemed to know what Harrells needed and he’s worked tirelessly to ensure it was secured, never asking anyone to do more than he, himself, was willing to do.
Ever humble, even when accepting the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, McGill turned attention away from himself, assuring, instead, that the spotlight was shined on the fire department and the individuals who he believes makes it the shining star it is.
We know George McGill to be an honorable man, a devout Christian and a tremendous family-oriented individual who believes a call to action actually means doing the work, not for the accolades but for the betterment of community.
It’s rare to find someone with such humility, particularly someone who so willingly jumps out in front to do the work. Yet that is who George McGill is and, we’ve no doubt, always will be.