March 12, 2010
Coast Guard base in somber mood

Among the many persons affected by last weekend’s fatalities are the men and women of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Coast Guard.{{more}}

Derald Thomas had only been an officer at the Coast Guard for just over one year, and the men who served as his superiors say that the young man will be missed.

Petty Officer William Theobalds of the Engineering Department and Thomas’ immediate supervisor said that he was on duty the night of the accident.

“When I got the news, chills began to flow through me,” Petty Officer Theobalds told SEARCHLIGHT.

“I was still in a frame of mind that it wasn’t him.”

Petty Officer Theobalds described Thomas as a “cool, quiet lad” and one who took his job seriously.

“Everyone have their faults, but he was a very jovial person and a very good worker,” he said.

Thomas would have also received training in two courses under the guidance of Petty Officer Theobalds.

“He was the type of person who needed a little push through the theoretical aspect of training, but he was a ‘hands on’ type of guy.”

Lieutenant Ralphie Ragguette, Engineering Officer and Commander directly in charge of Thomas said that he knew the young man was aspiring to become an engineering technician.

He described the atmosphere back at base as “bleak” and that Thomas would be missed very much by his work colleagues.

“At the Coast Guard, we are like family…Thomas was a part of that family,” Lt Ragguette said.

“It is hard to deal with him not being here,” he continued.

“He will be missed greatly.”

Up to the time of Thomas’ passing, he was on scheduled special leave, this Lt Ragguette confirmed.

He was expected to return to active duty last Sunday, March 4.