Firefighter Richard Kaplan, age 80, of the Jericho Volunteer Fire Department, died on January 23, 2017, after responding to four emergency calls in the 24-hours prior.
George A. Turner Jr. was born into a firematic family in Locust Valley, New York, on June 22, 1952, to George and Helen Turner. His father and two uncles were members of the Locust Valley Fire Department, and over the years his father, uncle, and cousin served as chief of the department. George joined the department on his 18th birthday. As a kid, he would go to the races with his uncle, and when he joined the department in 1970 he joined the racing team as well as the softball and bowling teams. He bowled in the battalion league until 2008. During those years George rolled two 299 games, and in 1998 he rolled a 300–a perfect score. He was an avid golfer and loved to cook.
Along with his firematic duties, George became an EMT and then AMT, which he kept up with for over 15 years. Over a ten-year period from the mid-70s to mid-80s, he lived in Glen Cove and Glenwood Landing and served in those departments as well. During his time in Glen Cove, George was caught in a backdraft and suffered 2nd degree burns on the right side of his face by the ear. Even that could not deter him from serving.
George married his wife, Diane, in 1997, and they settled in Hicksville, New York. During the first eight years there, George did not join the fire department. In March 2005, he came home from bowling one night and asked what I would think if he said he wanted to join a fire department. After some explanation from him, I told George I knew how much the fire department was a part of him, and I would never say ‘no’ to him joining. George joined Jericho Guardian Engine Company #2 in May of 2005 and served as a lieutenant before transferring to Trident Engine Company #3. He served Co. #3 as a lieutenant for three years before being elected captain in December 2012. Every year he was a member, George was one of the department’s top responders. After joining Jericho, he became a master pump operator and was one of three people responsible for training new chauffeurs.
George loved the fire department and serving his community. No matter when the whistle blew, he responded to help those who needed it. During firematic services, one of the chiefs stated George could drive you crazy–one minute he’d be arguing a point with you, and in the next instant he’d have you laughing. I miss George every day–his laughter and his smile. I lost my best friend, but I know he’s looking out for me from the fire station in the sky.