Ed St. George left his home in Irvine, California in November and has been helping local volunteers on Lesvos handle the influx of arriving refugees. He arrived there randomly, without any particular plan or without a connection to a particular organization. He just knew that he needed to do something, in order to pay back a century-old debt to the people of Lesvos for something that happened almost a century ago.
Now, he’s helping with the clean up effort on the island, gathering and discarding tons of waste that is gathering from the tens of thousands of refugees arriving and passing through the island.In a Facebook post by Panagiotis Samaras, who met Ed on the island, he explains his reason for being on Lesvos. (Photos by Panagiotis Samaras)
Ed was born in Athens in 1946 to parents who were themselves refugees— Greeks from Asia Minor who arrived in Greece in 1922 and lived there until 1949 when they emigrated to the United States.
“My parents left as refugee babies from Asia Minor. Their families lost everything they had and they were forced to leave everything behind and flee on a boat. The boat my father was on sank just of the coast of Lesvos, near the town of Molivos and the local Greeks rescued them.
“They put my family in their homes, they fed them, they gave them warm, dry clothes and then helped them on their way to Athens. On these same pebbles, my parents walked almost a hundred years ago. I owe my own life, my children, everything I own today, to the generosity and support of the people of Lesvos.”