‘Jamaica is in grief’

Vigil held in memory of Bulgin brothers.


Family and friends of Tavaris and Tavaughn Bulgin gathered at Big Bridge Tuesday evening for a remembrance service. They were joined by Vineyard community members and a number of first responders who were involved in the search and recovery of the two young men. 

Tavaris Bulgin, 26, and Tavaughn Bulgin, 21, died following a late night jump from Big Bridge. The brothers’ family, including their father, the Rev. Keith Bulgin, and mother Jacqueline Bulgin, sat close to the Rev. Stephen Harding by the inlet connecting Cow Bay to Sengekontacket Pond. An audience stood behind them on the sand, and along the bridge above. 

Omar George, a close friend of the Bulgin family, told those gathered the brothers were “two of the nicest young men you will ever meet.”

George described Tavaris as smart and debonair. “You want to know who someone is?” George asked. “How do they treat people who are less fortunate than themselves?”

George then described a Christmas in Jamaica when Tavaris, on his way to get a haircut, gave a homeless person a couple of hundred dollars. 

George described Tavaughn as “chic” and “a fine musician.” He noted both men pursued a university education. “Two of Jamaica’s greatest, finest sons,” George said. 

Not only were the brothers’ personalities and intelligence remarkable, but so too was their faith, George said.

George thanked the first responders, Harding, and the “people of this Island” for their kindness and “well-wishes.”

Among the responders present were Edgartown Fire and EMS Chief Alex Schaeffer, Oak Bluffs Fire and EMS Chief Nelson Wirtz, Edgartown Police Chief Bruce McNamee, and Oak Bluffs Police Chief Jonathan Searle. Chiefs McNamee and Searle were among those who greeted the grieving Bulgin family when they arrived by ferry on the Vineyard.

“Thank you all, for your kindness to us, to our families,” George said. “Thank you for remembering. We want you to remember Tavaughn and Tavaris. There’s a nation that’s waiting for them. The nation of Jamaica is in grief. People are waiting by the thousands for them. And we can’t wait to take them home.”

In closing out his remarks, George said, “God bless you. We’re eternally grateful.”

Harding said to the brothers’ parents that seeing their faith and strength “has been a tremendous gift to all of us.” He went on to say, “It takes great courage to come here to this site tonight. But how appropriate that you are here, that all of you are here, together, to remember, to grieve, to support each other, to cry, to laugh, to share this moment. Thank you for the compassion of your hearts. For the actions that you have taken over this week and a half. Thank you to all the first responders: to the fire service, EMS, police, State Police. Thank you to Lenny Verville. Thank you to the Coast Guard. Thank you to all who have contributed to the GoFundMe page. Thank you, for all of you who have come to help. When things like this happen, people wonder where God might be. The answer [to] where God might be is right in front of me in all of you, and in the response of this Island to you.”

At the close of the service, friends and family of the brothers sang the gospel song, “I Am Under the Rock.”