Gil Manson – a true public servant and friend

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 1999

By Bertram Madere / L’Observateur / January 20, 1999

DEAR EDITOR: This week, we said goodbye to a very dear friend and volunteer public servant. Gilbert Manson Jr., known by his friends as Gil, was a Navyveteran of the Korean War, a volunteer fireman with the LaPlace Volunteer Fire Department, a Marine firefighters, a hazardous material specialist, a staff officer with the St. John Parish Civil Defense Agency, and an OSHAinstructor with the GNOIC organization, as well as a dedicated member in good standing with the LaPlace Lions Club.

Gil chose to depart this life the way he lived it, without fanfare, without tears, giving us the silence of time to remember him as he lived. There arefew people I know that have had such a positive effect on our parish and community as did Gil. He was a dedicated husband, a hard-working fatherand businessman in LaPlace for many years, and yet he always found time for his parish, his community, his favorite charities and those who were less fortunate than he.

Gil was one of the most unselfish individuals I have ever met. When afisherman or hunter in St. John was reported overdue, Gil was outsearching through the swamp and lakes, sometimes in temperatures below freezing, until that individual was found. When we experience a planecrash in Lake Pontchartrain, a tornado in LaPlace and Reserve, Gil was one of the first individuals on the scene, rendering aid and assistance. Whenthe community was threatened with a shipboard fire containing flammable materials, Gil was coordinating the emergency response on scene. Hispresence was even felt in neighboring St. Charles and Tangipahoa parishesduring the Luling ferryboat disaster and when the Manchac bridge collapsed.

His untiring service to his community and dedication to making St. JohnParish a safer and more prosperous place to live will always be etched in the archives of our history, and I hope in the memories of our community, that there is a place one must be willing to pay, to be hailed as a true American and community leader. From his contribution to his country inKorea to his unselfish giving to his community in times of turmoil, emergencies and disasters I commend Mr. Mansom. He was an example ofwhat it means to way beyond the Golden Rule, as he did unto others not as they would do to him, but never asking any reward for his actions.

I have been blessed for having known Gil and having had the opportunity to work with him. His presence will be missed by the staff of this CivilDefense Agency, but his laughter and sense of humor will leave us with a void that will never be filled.

May God reward you, Gil, for your service to mankind, and may He say to you, “Well done, faithful servant,” and welcome you to a special place that was prepared for you before your life began. May the good Lord bless andkeep you, Gil Manson Jr., until we meet again.

Bertram Madere, director St. John Civil DefenseLaPlace

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