Roatan’s Beauty, Truth & Wisdom
Charles George.

Charles George, a Long Time Roatan Resident, Passes Away

Charles George, or Vegas like most people knew him, a Roatan entrepreneur, a mentor and a good friend to many has passed away after a bout with cancer on April 18 in Tampa, Florida. Vegas was a full of life, hard-working, generous man who helped hundreds of people during his adventurous life. Vegas was a man of principle and he helped to instill many of these principles in his Vegas Electric employees, fellow AA members and friends.

Charles George was born on March 24, 1949 in in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up on a farm in southern Iowa where together with his siblings he helped his parents, Louis and Marian George, to “raise hogs which enclosed with a six-volt electric fence.” When Vegas was about three-four years old, he learned about the intricacies of electricity the hard way. “He reached up to the fence to pull himself out, but of course he got a shock, let go and fell back into the puddle. He tried it again, got another shock and, plop, back into the mud puddle. Never one to give up easily, it took a couple more tries,” remembered his brother Mike George.

Mike looked after his younger brother who proceeded to take apart every radio and alarm clock; he could get his hands on. “He had to take everything apart to see the ‘electricity.’ “I always thought that (…) curiosity never left him,” wrote Mike George.

Vegas graduated from Maryville High School, in in Maryville, Missouri in 1967. Opposed to the Vietnam War, Charles was briefly married and moved to Tampa, Florida to become a shrimp boat captain.

Jack Peters, a life-long friend met Vegas around 1970 at the Tampa Shrimp boat docks, where Vegas was one of the youngest boat captains. The two moved around working on shrimp boats from Key West to Brownsville, Texas. Once-a-year Charles and Jack would ride motorcycles together on long-distance adventures; Vegas rode on his trusted R90 BMW. “He had an excellent memory for places and directions. Sometimes being able to recall routes from travels he had made years earlier,” remember Vegas Jack.

“He had this nickname from his teenage years because he always liked to play cards. When he started doing electrical work, someone referred to him as ‘Vegas electric’,” remembers Charles Sheli Heil, Vegas’ friend and business partner.

Vegas’ life took an about turn when in the mid-1980s when he came to Roatan. In 1987 Vegas founded Vegas Electric, Roatan’s first electrical company to followed US standards of quality in workmanship and professionalism. “The first Vegas Electric project involved the installation of a custom-fabricated generator switch gear for a seafood processing plant,” remembers the early days Heil.

He had this nickname from his teenage years because he always liked to play cards.  When he started doing electrical work, someone referred to him as ‘Vegas electric.”

Charles pursued many other projects and passions. As a certified electrical engineer for 25 years Vegas was an overseas representative for Project Trust. He looked after hundreds of young volunteers that came to Honduras. “He established his company as a pioneer in promoting solar and wind power green energy here in the islands,” remembers his old-time friend Erick Anderson.

In 1993 Vegas begun an Alcoholics Anonymous group on Roatan and help dozens of people in their struggle with alcohol addiction and helping them on their road to sobriety.

Vegas was also instrumental in starting up Bay Islands Conservation Association. “A steadfast guy that always had a knack to do the right thing,” said about Vegas Erick Anderson.

Over the years Vegas mentored many people in AA and at his electrical business. One of them was Edy Zelaya who begun working as an intern at the Vegas Electric in 2001. Vegas soon recognized in Edy an honest, talented and ready to learn individual. “He became a mentor to me and my family, the father that I never had and that I never knew,” remembers Vegas Edy Zelaya. “He and I did so many successful projects, traveled to many countries, we enjoyed talking, we got mad, we hurt our feelings, we cried together, we laughed a lot.”

Charles George, leaving a legacy of professionalism and mentor ship, is missed by his siblings Michael and Ruth Anne Lacky, employees of Vegas Electric and a great number of Roatanians. “If a man’s wealth can be measured by the people he touched in this life, Vegas was a very rich man,” said about Vegas Heil.