Brion FitzGerald Retiring

Brion FitzGerald, Superintendent Virgin Islands National Park

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News Release Date: December 27, 2016

After almost four decades of exceptional and honorable public service, Brion FitzGerald will retire from the National Park Service effective January 3, 2017.

 

Brion began his career with the NPS as a volunteer trapping the European Wild Boar from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in 1977 as a summer intern Parks and Recreation undergraduate from East Carolina University. Brion was a member of the first class to graduate from the Seasonal Law Enforcement Training program at Southwestern Technical Community College in Sylva, NC and worked as a seasonal backcountry ranger in the Smokies and Joshua Tree National Monument before accepting his first permanent position at Gulf Islands National Seashore, Mississippi. Before leaving the Smokies, he took the time to wed Mary Robinson, who was also a career NPS employee working as the Cades Cove District Interpreter. Brion and Mary were reunited at Saguaro National Park where both served before heading east and south to Everglades NP where both worked as supervisory park rangers and lived at Flamingo.

Their next stop was Assateague Island NS, Maryland in the mid 1980’s where Brion served as Chief Ranger and Mary officially “retired” from the NPS. Over the next several years they were blessed with the births of their three children, Brion, Kevin, and Katie. In the early 1990’s their next move was to Gettysburg NMP where Brion managed the Interpretation and Visitor Protection programs, eventually assuming the duties of Deputy Superintendent as well. In 2013 Brion and Mary relocated for the last time with the NPS when he accepted the position of Park Superintendent at Virgin Islands NP.

Brion’s career accomplishments are both numerous and widely varied. A small example would include leading the NPS effort in writing the Service wide Structural Fire policies and guidelines; managing numerous high profile events as the first Incident Commander of the Mid Atlantic Region All Risk IMT; playing an integral role in the development, design and construction of the new visitor center, collections storage and Cyclorama exhibit facility at Gettysburg and most importantly, serving as a mentor, advisor and friend to countless employees, co-workers, superiors and partners along the way. Those who worked with or for Brion know him to be one whom never shied away from dealing with the difficult issues on a local, regional or national level. He asked the tough questions, gave thoughtful and reasoned analysis and was rarely, if ever, outworked!



 
Captain Brion FitzGerald US Coast Guard
Captain Brion FitzGerald, US Coast Guard
If his career with the NPS were not, in and of itself, enough, Brion also recently concluded a highly decorated 24 year career as a reservist with the United States Coast Guard, rising to the rank of Captain prior to his retirement. In addition to monthly drill weekends and 14 day annual training exercises in duty stations that included New York City, Washington, DC, Baltimore and Ocean City, MD, Brion was deployed for 8 months overseas during the second Gulf War, managing a port security unit in Kuwait City in 2004 and 2005, ensuring safe passage of people and supplies going to and leaving Iraq.

And if that were not enough, Brion is well known for his giving back to the communities where he lives. While working at Gettysburg, Brion served as a coach for the local youth soccer league teams (which included his three children) and eventually moved up to serve as an assistant head coach of the Fairfield High School Lady Knights soccer team, which this past fall claimed their first state championship. Like most things he touched, this program reaped the benefits of him and others having laid a solid foundation for future success. One of his favorite past times while living on St. John was volunteering as a reader at the local library, making time once a week to stop in and read books to the preschool kids assembled to hear him as part of the Headstart Program. For the past 10 years Brion has taken two weeks whenever possible during the summer to travel with his Pennsylvania church group on Mission trips the Lakota Sioux Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. Brion, no doubt, counts these kinds of activities along with being a good partner for the past 35 years to Mary and setting a good example for his children as his most significant life accomplishments.

In the message he sent to his park staff informing them of his decision to move on with the next chapter in his life, he quoted his favorite President, Abraham Lincoln in saying “In the end, it’s not the years in your life that counts, it’s the life in your years.”

Brion and Mary plan to return to their home in Pennsylvania early in 2017 and ultimately plan to spend time both there and central Florida to be near Brion and Katie (FL) and Kevin and their grandson Wyatt Patrick (PA).

A celebration of Brion’s career is being planned for Saturday May 13, 2017 at Carroll Valley Park in Fairfield, PA. Anyone interested in receiving information on this event can contact Kevin FitzGerald at kmfitz1958@gmail.com and will be placed on a mailing list.

Last updated: December 27, 2016

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1300 Cruz Bay Creek
St. John, VI 00830

Phone:

(340) 776-6201 x238
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