Monday, June 17, 2024

Tribute to Belizean Patriots 2023


Belmopan, September 14, 2023.
Twenty-five distinguished persons were honoured at this yearโ€™s Tribute to Belizean Patriots ceremony on September 13, at the Battlefield Park in Belize City.
The awardees are:
Order of Belize

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’† ๐‘ฏ๐’๐’๐’๐’–๐’“๐’‚๐’ƒ๐’๐’† ๐‘ฑ๐’Š๐’Ž๐’Ž๐’š ๐‘ช๐’‚๐’“๐’•๐’†๐’“
The Order of Belize in recognition of his distinguished record of friendship and support to Belize
The 39th President of the United States, James Earl Carter, Jr., is universally admired as a humanitarian and a promoter of human rights, an effort for which he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
ะะต trะฐvะตllะตd ะตั…tะตnั•ั–vะตlัƒ tะพ ัะพnduัt ั€ะตะฐัะต nะตgะพtั–ะฐtั–ะพnั•, monitor ะตlะตัtั–ะพnั•, and ะฐdvะฐnัะต dั–ั•ะตะฐั•ะต ั€rะตvะตntั–ะพn and ะตrะฐdั–ัะฐtั–ะพn ั–n dะตvะตlะพั€ั–ng nะฐtั–ะพnั•.
The first and only U.S. president to visit Belize, Jimmy Carter is known locally as a man of peace, a strong proponent of democracy and a builder of homes.
During a meeting chaired by former U.S. presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford in 1986, The Council of Freely Elected Heads of Government was formed. Its objectives were to reinforce democracy in the Americas, promote multilateral efforts to resolve conflict in the hemisphere, and advance regional economic cooperation. It was this kind of work that led the Rt. Hon. George Price to join in the effort, becoming the vice chairman of the council. Together, Carter and Price took part in election missions in the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Nicaragua and Panama.
Along with his wife and former first lady Rosalynn, in 1984, Mr. Carter launched the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project, an annual weeklong building project that attracted volunteers from many countries worldwide. Through Habitat for Humanity, a program that benefited millions across the world, the former president sought to make the world a better place by building homes for the poor. Many first-time homeowners in Belize, especially single mothers and poor Belizeans, benefited from this initiative.
Former president Carter was admired in Belize and the world over as deeply humanitarian. In gratitude for his contribution to our national development, in 2022, former President Jimmy Carter was awarded the Order of Belize.
Award received by Amy Carter (Daughter)

โ€ข Hon. Jimmy Carter, Former United States President โ€“ In recognition of his distinguished record of friendship and support to Belize.

๐‘ฎ๐’˜๐’†๐’๐’…๐’๐’๐’š๐’ ๐‘ด๐’‚๐’“๐’ˆ๐’‚๐’“๐’†๐’• ๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’›๐’‚๐’“๐’“๐’‚๐’ˆ๐’‚ (๐‘ด๐’‚๐’…๐’‚๐’Ž ๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’›) (๐‘ท๐’๐’”๐’•๐’‰๐’–๐’Ž๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š)
Order of Belize for contributions to Community Service
Gwendolyn Lizarraga was born in Maskall Village on July 11, 1901. She was educated at Mr. Datsun Primary School, St. Mary’s Primary School and St. Catherine’s Academy.
Ms. Gwendolyn was a mother, activist, politician, businesswoman, and successful chicle and mahogany contractor. Unlike the typical woman in the early 1900s, she wore pants, carried a gun, publicly smoked cigarettes, and even drove a Land Rover. Before her political career, she formed the United Women’s Group to assist women in unfortunate conditions and help the sick and the poor. Madam Liz was the co-founder of United Women’s Credit Union, and even if a woman could only afford to save 25 cents per week, she encouraged them to save.

โ€ข Hon. Gwendolyn Lizarraga (posthumously) โ€“ For contributions to community service
Order of Distinction

๐‘ญ๐’“. ๐‘ณ๐’†๐’ ๐‘พ๐’†๐’ƒ๐’†๐’“ ๐‘บ.๐‘ฑ.
Order of Distinction for contributions to Education
In 1950, Father Leo Weber SJ first arrived in Belize where he taught at St. Johnโ€™s College. After being ordained as a Jesuit priest in 1956, he returned to Belize to work as the Assistant Director of Catholic Schools at the elementary level, where he served until 1963.
In 1964, Father Weber was appointed president of SJC, a post he held until 1971. It was during this time that St. Johnโ€™s College broadened its program of studies to award associate degrees, allowing graduates to continue their studies at universities in the United States, United Kingdom and at universities in the West Indies.
After his term as president, Fr. Weber returned to the United States eventually returning to Belize in 1984 to become the President of St. Johnโ€™s College once more. During this second term, he successfully started the Jesuit Scholarship Program, an initiative that granted tuition scholarships to graduates of St. Johnโ€™s Junior College to continue their studies at Jesuit universities in the U.S. Hundreds of Belizeans have graduated and continued their undergraduate and graduate studies at Jesuit universities through this initiative which continues today.
In 1990, Fr. Weber left the Office of the President of SJC, handing over to its first Belizean president, Fr. James Murphy. Father Weber went on to serve as director of St. Johnโ€™s College Extension Division until 1994 when he left for Toledo to serve as the pastor of St. Peter Claver Parish.
As an educator and Jesuit missionary, Fr. Leo Weber made a great impact on education in Belize and the development of our nation.
Award received by Fr. Matthew Ruhl (Fellow Jesuit Priest)

โ€ข Father Leo Weber, SJ โ€“ For contributions to education
Meritorious Service Award – Female

๐‘ณ๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’‚ ๐‘ฉ๐’๐’˜๐’Ž๐’‚๐’
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community Service
Lilia Bowman (affectionately known as Lily) is a daughter of the so-called “Southside” Belize City. She attended St. Ignatius Primary School, Saint Catherine Academy, and SJC Junior College. She is a proud mother of four children.
Forfeiting a scholarship to study abroad, Lily entered the workforce as an employee at Barclayโ€™s Bank in 1976. Twenty-seven years transpired with Lily covering various positions in the bank before retiring in June 2003.
After retirement, Lily established and managed a small family resort on St. George’s Caye. She eventually joined the Belize Red Cross Society. Today, Lily is the Director General of the organization, a position she has held since May 2005.
Ms. Lily passionately believes in the values and the seven fundamental principles of the Red Cross movement and upholds them as much as possible. She dedicates much of herself to managing the Belize Red Cross Headquarters and its seven branches, guiding them through various initiatives to develop safer, healthier, and more resilient communities. The Red Cross has become a way of life for her, which she finds highly gratifying.

โ€ข Lilia Bowman – For contributions to community service

๐‘ฐ๐’ˆ๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’Š๐’‚ ๐‘ฏ๐’†๐’“๐’๐’Š๐’๐’…๐’‚ ๐‘จ๐’“๐’‚๐’๐’‚
Meritorious Award for contributions to Education
Mrs. Agnes Arana has dedicated her life to sculpting the minds of young Belizeans for over four decades. In 1957, at only 15, Agnes began her career as a pupil teacher in her native Punta Gorda Town. On her own, she enrolled in overseas correspondence courses, earning her General Certificate of Education Ordinary Level qualifications in English and Geography from the University of London in England in 1964. She qualified as a trained teacher at the then Belize Teacherโ€™s College and received her First Class Teachers Certificate in 1963.
With a Commonwealth Fellowship from the British Government, she financed her enrollment at South Hampton University in England from 1972 to 1973, earning her qualifications in Education and Geography. After passing her qualifying exams, she became an Associate of the College of Preceptors in England in 1976. Mrs. Arana taught at the primary level for 13 years, and went on to teach at the secondary level at Wesley College, St. Catherineโ€™s Academy, and Edward P. Yorke High School for 20 years. She spent the final 10 years of her career teaching at St. Johnโ€™s College before retiring in 2000.

โ€ข Ignacia Arana โ€“ For contributions to education

๐‘ด๐’š๐’“๐’•๐’๐’† ๐‘ท๐’‚๐’๐’‚๐’„๐’Š๐’ Meritorious Award for contributions to Community and Public Service Mrs. Myrtle Palacio holds a Trained Teacherโ€™s Diploma, Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Management, and a Master of Science degree in Urban Studies with concentration in Social Planning and Community Economic Development. She conducts research, presents technical papers at national and international conferences, and has published on topical areas of socio-political, socio-cultural and socio-economical concerns. As an entrepreneur, Mrs. Palacio pioneered the political opinion polling culture, the computer and offshore data entry industries in Belize, through her organization Glessima Research and Services Ltd. Glessima was well-known for its commitment to skills training and job placement. The concept of Glessima was influenced by Mrs. Palacioโ€™s experience in party politics, as one of two women candidates for the People’s United Party in the 1984 general election. She participated in several election observer missions to the Caribbean, Curacao and Sierra Leone, with CARICOM, IFES and The Commonwealth Secretariat, and was also a member of the Commission of Enquiry into the work of the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. From 2012 to 2015, Mrs. Palacio served as the Secretary General to one of Belizeโ€™s major political parties. Over the years, Mrs. Palacio has been recognized for her contribution to cultural awareness and her dedicated service to family and community, which includes her appointment as an Ordinary Member of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Myrtle taught for 20 years at all levels of education. Education is power and developing human capacities is of utmost importance to Myrtle Palacio, as she continues to acquire knowledge on Belize through primary and secondary research.

โ€ข Myrtle Palacio โ€“ For contributions to community and public service

๐‘ด๐’‚๐’“๐’Š๐’‚ ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’‚๐’๐’ˆ
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community Service and Business
Maria Chang was born in Canton, China. At 16, she had an arranged marriage to her husband, Arturo. Shortly after, he got an offer to migrate to Honduras for a better life. He worked hard and sent for his wife two years later. There, in Honduras, Maria had four sons.
In June 1970, the Changs moved to British Honduras for a better life. Like most typical Chinese families, Mariaโ€™s family embraced hard work and respect for elders. She also instilled in her children the value of working hard, staying together as a close family, and looking after each other as they embraced British Honduras as their new home.
Their first and only job was at Peking Restaurant, which was located at exactly where Darios Meat Pie on Hyde’s Lane. Maria was the assistant cook to her husband. After three years of hard work, they managed to buy a little grocery store on Victoria Street. Living frugally, they expanded their business, growing from a small retail grocery to wholesale and eventually to pasta manufacturing, hotel and bakery. During all those years, Maria Chang always gave back to society through donations to worthy causes and sponsorship of sports teams.

โ€ข Maria Chang โ€“ For contributions to community service and business

๐‘ต๐’†๐’“๐’Š๐’‚ ๐‘ท๐’Š๐’„๐’Œ๐’˜๐’๐’‚๐’…
Meritorious Award for contributions to Culture (Cuisine) and Entrepreneurship
Mrs. Neria Pickwoad was born in the Orange Walk District on September 24, 1953. She is the wife of the late Mr. Alfred Pickwoad, whom she married in 1975 and had seven children together.
Since Mr. Pickwoad was a travelling salesman, Mrs. Pickwoad spent her time at home with her children and mother-in-law, who taught her how to cook. This skill led Mrs. Pick to start selling panades to make extra income. Eventually, she added creole bread, bun, powder bun, tamales to her sales.
Even while they ran their grocery and wholesale store, Pickwoad Brothers, Mrs. Pick continued her food sale. After the store closed in 1995, they opened a small restaurant on Freetown Road, Neriโ€™s. The menu was small but was eventually expanded to include escabeche, chimole, conch soup, sere, beef liver, and local delicacies such as gibnut and deer meat. In 1998, they had the opportunity to open another restaurant, Neriโ€™s II, at the corner of Queen and Daly streets.
When customers asked Mrs. Pick how she kept her standards and consistency in taste, she always replied, โ€œI do it with LOVE.โ€ Mrs. Pick still enjoys waking up early to be in her restaurant and greeting customers.

โ€ข Neria Pickwoad โ€“ For contributions to culture (cuisine) and entrepreneurship

๐‘ฑ๐’‚๐’๐’† ๐‘ณ๐’๐’„๐’‚๐’“๐’Š๐’
Meritorious Award for contributions to Education
Mrs. Jane Locario, also known as Teacher Jane, was born and raised in Punta Gorda Town.
Mrs. Locario began her teaching career after graduating from Pallotti High School – first serving in the rural villages of Toledo. She spent 38 years in the primary school teaching. Her love for children with special needs was motivated when she studied Special Education at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica and through the Belizean-Netherland Red Cross. While working as a principal at Punta Gorda Methodist School, Teacher Jane opened a special education unit and a school-feeding programme, which are still functioning.
Teacher Jane retired in August 2004, but she continued to work because of her love for teaching. She taught at Toledo Community College, Wesley College in Belize City, and the University of Belize. Mrs. Locario still visits and assists teachers who participate in the Induction Programme and is also a part of the assessment committee for teachers completing their associateโ€™s degree.
Mrs. Locario is a Justice of the Peace, Associate College of Preceptors recipient, a local preacher of Methodist Church, local manager of Toledo Methodist Schools, supervisor of the Induction Programme, a longstanding member of the Belize Red Cross, teacher, mother and wife โ€“ her contributions to her community and country are many.

โ€ข Jane Locario โ€“ For contributions to education

๐‘ช๐’๐’‚๐’–๐’…๐’†๐’•๐’•๐’† ๐‘ฏ๐’–๐’๐’”๐’†
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community Service
Claudette Bernadette Bedran Hulse was born in San Ignacio Town on July 19, 1954.
She attended Sacred Heart Primary School in San Ignacio and Pallotti High School. While attending high school, she helped the children at Stella Maris School and the YWCA. After graduating, she was hired at Barclays Bank in Belize City. There, she met the love of her life, Ronald Hulse, whom she married on March 11, 1974. After fifteen years, Claudette left the Bank to travel with her husband as the bank transferred him.
After returning to Belize, Claudette worked at the United Nations Development Programme in Belmopan for over twenty years until she retired. Working for the UN, she helped refugees get refugee status to stay in Belize and learn English as a second language.
Claudette was a board member of Octavia Waight Center for over 20 years. After retiring, she began managing the center and is still there today. Claudetteโ€™s love of caring for the elderly and making them feel wanted and happy is the driving force behind her still being at the Octavia Waight Centre.
This year, Mr. and Mrs. Hulse celebrated fifty years of marriage, a union that produced two daughters.

โ€ข Claudette Hulse โ€“ For contributions to community service
โ€ข Anita Tzib โ€“ For contributions to education

๐‘ถ๐’‡๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’‚ ๐‘ช๐’‰๐’Š๐’‚๐’„
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community Service
Ofelia Chiac was born in San Jose Village, Toledo, to Roberto and Eulalia Cho.
In a time when Maya girls were not allowed to further their education, with her parentsโ€™ support, Ofelia became the first young woman in her village to graduate from high school. Today, she holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from the University of the West Indies and bachelor’s degree in Primary Education from the University of Belize.
Right out of high school, Ofelia began teaching at the Maya Mopan Christian School, eventually moving to Red Bank Christian School, where she remains today. After becoming the principal in 2014, Ofelia established cooperative relationships with parents, staff and donors. She formed school committees to fundraise and lobby for the construction of classrooms.
To address absenteeism, she employed her favorite and most effective strategy โ€” jumping on a bicycle to visit homes to find out what was keeping her students away from school.
She established partnerships with the University of Louisville and Teacher-to-Teacher Project in Virginia to assist with staff development workshops in reading, mathematics, and teaching strategies.
Apart from her service as an educator, Ofelia acts as a liaison between the community and health workers; was the first woman in her village to serve under the Alcade System; served as chairlady of the Parent-Teachers Association and womenโ€™s sewing group; and is a Justice of the Peace.
Established in 2012, her “Chess and Mopan Maya Awareness Camp,โ€ teaches chess and incorporates cultural activities as a way of preserving the Mopan Maya culture.
Ofelia is married to Modesto Chiac with whom she shares three children.

โ€ข Ofelia Chiac โ€“ For contributions to community service

๐‘ฌ๐’๐’Š๐’›๐’‚ ๐‘จ๐’“๐’๐’๐’๐’…
Meritorious Award for contributions to Sports
Eliza Arnold was born on April 23rd, 1939 in what is now known as the โ€˜Otro Benqueโ€™ of the Orange Walk District. She has spent most of her life as a stalwart figure on Turton Lane, Belize City. There, with her late husband โ€” Mr. Winfield Andrew Arnold โ€” she raised six children.
Eliza is an avid sports fan, and her dedication to sports and sport development has been seen most in volleyball. Her contributions to the development of volleyball in Belize have been invaluable, with her long-standing involvement in the sport starting in a time when volleyball was in its early stages in the country.
Through her consistent support for fundraisers, educational events, and games, as well as her encouragement of her own family members to volunteer and participate, she has demonstrated her leadership by example.
Ms. Arnold has worked tirelessly behind the scenes and has played a vital role in the growth and success of sports. Her presence and involvement in the volleyball community have undoubtedly left a lasting and positive impact, contributing to the sport’s development and helping shape future generations of athletes and enthusiasts.

โ€ข Eliza Arnold โ€“ For contributions to sports

๐‘ถ๐’๐’ˆ๐’‚ ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’“๐’…๐’๐’
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community Service
Ms. Olga Gordon was born September 10th, 1951, in Sittee River, Stann Creek District. Ms. Olga – a special lady with lots of names whose claim to fame was being born on our National Day.
At a young age, along with her mother and sister, she migrated to Belize City where she was educated. After finishing school, Olga began working in many different places as she sought a better life.
In 1971, she moved into what is now the Lake Independence area, where she met Mrs. Eva Middleton and Mr. Lennox Lamb whose energy and commitment, like hers, were focused on making Lake-I the best constituency in Belize City.
The fire was lit in Ms. Olga and since then, her life has been dedicated to community development. She has worked with youth groups as a librarian and a mentor, and on health community projects, especially for senior citizens, working with Sister Carlette Gentle in the Lifeโ€™s Seniors Program. She has also organized neighborhood watch groups to help keep Lake-I safe.
Ms. Olgaโ€™s life is one well-lived as she has engaged in many spiritual works of mercy.

โ€ข Olga Gordon โ€“ For contributions to community service
Meritorious Service Award โ€“ Male

๐‘จ๐’๐’๐’‚๐’ ๐‘บ๐’‰๐’‚๐’“๐’‘
Meritorious Award for contributions to Sports
Allan Miguel Sharp was born in London on March 2, 1967, and was brought to Belize at 18 months. He spent his early childhood years in Pomona and Melinda Farms in Stann Creek. He attended St. Matthewโ€™s Primary School in Pomona and Hope Creek Methodist School, and later La Inmaculada Primary School in Orange Walk. In 1979, he moved to Belize City to attend St. Johnโ€™s College High School and later SJC Junior College.
As one of the early recipients of a Jesuit/USAID Scholarship, Allan attended Gonzaga University in Washington State, where he earned his degree in Electrical Engineering and played on the schoolโ€™s soccer team.
Sports has always been a key part of Allanโ€™s life. Inspired by his high school basketball coach, Kevin Oโ€™Flaherty and his uncles, Leslie Sharp and Tony Alcoser, Allan has always believed that you can make a difference through sports.
Allan was one of the first Belizeans to be elected to a Continental Sport Governing Body and the first to be selected to the PanAm Sports and Centro Caribe Sports Commissions. He was instrumental in the start of the semi-pro basketball league in the early 1990s. Allan joined the volleyball association in 1993 and has been influential in the success of volleyball in Belize. Under his leadership, the sport has become a consistent regional contender for medals and winning medals at all age groups.
Combining his love of sports and his love for Belize, Allan has continuously carried and raised the Belizean flag proudly in regional and international fora. Allan is one of those super passionate and patriotic Belizeans who is proud to say that Belizeans have the potential to be the best.

โ€ข Allan Sharp โ€“ For contributions to sports

๐‘ซ๐’“. ๐‘ฒ๐’†๐’—๐’Š๐’ ๐‘ฎ๐’–๐’†๐’“๐’“๐’‚ (๐‘ท๐’๐’”๐’•๐’‰๐’–๐’Ž๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š)
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Medical Field and COVID Pandemic
Doctor Kevin Guerra, the older twin brother, and Kenneth Guerra were born on August 28, 1987, to Mrs. Ada and Ronald Guerra. Born five minutes apart, they were affectionately called โ€œLos Quachesโ€ Twin Brothers. They were inseparable.
They both studied at Mount Carmel Primary School and Mopan Technical High School. In 2008, Kevin and Kenneth went to Cuba to study medicine.
Kevin graduated in 2014. That same year, he married Dra. Gabriela Guerra and welcomed his only child. After returning to Belize, he worked at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and was later transferred to Placencia Health Center. Kevin loved his profession and devoted his service to the people of Belize.
Kenneth graduated in 2015 and returned to Belize to work at the Western Regional Hospital. He later served in Mango Creek and then at the San Ignacio Hospital. The jovial doctor selflessly cared for all his patients. Kenneth and his common-law wife, Ms. Nidia Rodriguez, had one son.
In November of 2020, Kevin and Kenneth both contracted COVID-19. Kevin was called to eternal life on December 12, and Kenneth on December 13. The nation of Belize mourned the loss of the compassionate and friendly doctors. In December 2020, the Government of Belize renamed the Benque Viejo Del Carmen health center in honour of the brothers, Doctors Kevin & Kenneth Guerra Polyclinic II. We are reminded that they gave their life selflessly in service to the nation.
Received by Dra. Gabriela Guerra (Widow) and Fabio Guerra (Son)

โ€ข Dr. Kevin Guerra (posthumously) โ€“ For contributions to the medical field and COVID-19 pandemic

๐‘ซ๐’“. ๐‘ฒ๐’†๐’๐’๐’†๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘ฎ๐’–๐’†๐’“๐’“๐’‚ (๐‘ท๐’๐’”๐’•๐’‰๐’–๐’Ž๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š)
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Medical Field and COVID Pandemic
Doctor Kevin Guerra, the older twin brother, and Kenneth Guerra were born on August 28, 1987, to Mrs. Ada and Ronald Guerra. Born five minutes apart, they were affectionately called โ€œLos Quachesโ€ Twin Brothers. They were inseparable.
They both studied at Mount Carmel Primary School and Mopan Technical High School. In 2008, Kevin and Kenneth went to Cuba to study medicine.
Kevin graduated in 2014. That same year, he married Dra. Gabriela Guerra and welcomed his only child. After returning to Belize, he worked at Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital and was later transferred to Placencia Health Center. Kevin loved his profession and devoted his service to the people of Belize.
Kenneth graduated in 2015 and returned to Belize to work at the Western Regional Hospital. He later served in Mango Creek and then at the San Ignacio Hospital. The jovial doctor selflessly cared for all his patients. Kenneth and his common-law wife, Ms. Nidia Rodriguez, had one son.
In November of 2020, Kevin and Kenneth both contracted COVID-19. Kevin was called to eternal life on December 12, and Kenneth on December 13. The nation of Belize mourned the loss of the compassionate and friendly doctors. In December 2020, the Government of Belize renamed the Benque Viejo Del Carmen health center in honour of the brothers, Doctors Kevin & Kenneth Guerra Polyclinic II. We are reminded that they gave their life selflessly in service to the nation.
Received by Nidia Jemima Rodrรญguez Hernรกndez (Widow) and son

โ€ข Dr. Kenneth Guerra (posthumously) โ€“ For contributions to the medical field and COVID-19 pandemic

๐‘ฌ๐’–๐’ˆ๐’†๐’๐’Š๐’ ๐‘จ๐’‰
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Environment
Mr. Eugenio Ah is a native of San Antonio Village in the Toledo District. Mr. Ah is a farmer who practices several key concepts of agroforestry and agroecology focused on conserving natural resources such as forests, soils and watersheds. He teaches local community members and student groups both from Belize and abroad how he designs and manages his agricultural land to help create an ecosystem that can effectively and sustainably produce food for the sustenance of his family in an environmentally friendly way.
Mr. Ah dedicated many years of work to several community-based organizations, including TIDE as Assistant Terrestrial Manager for protected areas, where he was part of a fire management team and community environmental awareness program. At Yaโ€™a xcheโ€™ Conservation Trust, he was the lead agroforestry trainer and extension officer. He worked with several communities conducting cocoa management training, developing fire management plans, and conserving and storing indigenous seeds.
Mr. Ah is always willing to share his knowledge and experience with everyone. He strongly advocates for community food security that can support an improved standard of living and better health by consuming what we produce locally.

โ€ข Eugenio Ah โ€“ For contributions to the environment

๐‘ฉ๐’‚๐’”๐’Š๐’๐’Š๐’ ๐‘ต๐’๐’—๐’†๐’๐’
Meritorious Award for contributions to Education
Mr. Basilio Novelo was born in Yo Creek Village, Orange Walk District, on June 19, 1935. He left primary school at 14 to attend Saint Johnโ€™s College. His studies were interrupted after two years for a teaching post at La Inmaculada R.C. School in Orange Walk. There was a significant shortage of teachers then. Everybody wanted a government job because the salary was better. After some years, Basilio went back to S.J.C. to complete his studies.
His first teaching post after graduation was at Guinea Grass R.C. School as principal. After two years in Guinea Grass, he returned to S.J.C. training college and obtained his trained teachers diploma. After that, he was sent to August Pine Ridge as principal and was later transferred to San Lazaro. Eventually, he was transferred to Xaibe Village as principal, where he spent most of his teaching career. Mr. Novelo officially retired in 1990 and returned to San Lazaro, where he still lives. He was rehired for another five years, making it 40 years in teaching.
Mr. Novelo feels it was a rewarding opportunity to contribute to shaping and molding the minds of many Belizeans.
Mr. Novelo is married to Eleadora Cal, and they have six children.

โ€ข Basilio Novelo โ€“ For contributions to education

๐‘ซ๐’“ ๐‘ฎ๐’“๐’†๐’ˆ๐’๐’“๐’Š๐’ ๐‘ฎ๐’‚๐’“๐’„๐’Š๐’‚
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Medical Field
Dr Gregorio Pablo Garcia was born in beautiful Corozal Town. Affectionately known as Dr Gregs, he has dedicated his life to healthcare and public service.
Dr Garcia obtained his medical degree from the prestigious Universidad de San Carlos in Guatemala at age 25 and, shortly after, started his practice in his hometown.
With a compassionate and patient-centred approach, he has earned the trust and admiration of his patients and peers. His commitment to providing high-quality healthcare services led him to establish a successful family medical practice where, for the last 44 years, he has served families over two or three generations. His commitment to improving the overall well-being of his community came from the conviction that access to health care is a basic human right, regardless of their socio-economic background.
He has actively engaged in national healthcare discussions through the chair of the National Health Insurance and heading the House Committee on health and human development, sharing his insights to shape policies and programs that address the increasing healthcare needs of Belize.
Dr Gregorio Garcia’s unwavering commitment to healthcare has left a deep and lasting impact on his community of Corozal Town and beyond.

โ€ข Dr. Gregorio Garcia โ€“ For contributions to the medical field

๐‘ซ๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐‘ญ๐’๐’๐’˜๐’†๐’“๐’” (๐‘ท๐’๐’”๐’•๐’‰๐’–๐’Ž๐’๐’–๐’”๐’๐’š)
Meritorious Award for contributions to Sports
Dion Flowers, Sr. was an exceptional and dynamic individual, who lived a full life.
Football was his love and motivation. As a young boy, Dion started playing football and was part of various professional leagues including BDF FC, JUVENTUS, FC BELIZE as well as the national youth and senior men’s team. However, his dynamic character was seen not in his time as a player but after he stopped playing professional football, and started the Flower’s Sports in Education Club. In this, Dion succeeded in a task that many have struggled to do โ€” doing good for youths in his community without a degree or big sponsorship.
Dion was a very kind and giving person, who was there for anyone who needed him. Hewill always be remembered for his love for youths and his community.
Receiving award is mother and Dion Flowers, Jr. (son)

โ€ข Dion Flowers (posthumously) โ€“ For contribution to sports

๐‘ฌ๐’˜๐’๐’“๐’•๐’‰ ๐‘ฎ๐’‚๐’“๐’ƒ๐’–๐’•๐’•
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Environment
Eworth Garbutt was born in Punta Negra Village, Toledo. He is the youngest of the sea-faring family of Sandra Williams and the late Lester Garbutt.
At eight years old, Eworth was already maneuvering vessels in some of the roughest waters in Belize, as anyone who has travelled between Punta Negra and Hunting Caye knows.
He started his formal education at St. Cuthbert Anglican School in Punta Negra and then went on to Toledo Community College. Upon completing his secondary education, Eworth began to pursue his life dream of working on the seas.
An entrepreneur and community builder, Eworth has earned himself the title of one of the top fly-fishing guides in Southern Belize. Through his business โ€œEworth Marine,” a successful locally owned tourism enterprise in Placencia, he continues to promote Belize as a tourism destination.
Eworth’s greatest community impact is through two projects that he has personally funded and led: the restoration of beaches at Silk Caye and Monkey River. Both projects demonstrated that beaches can be saved and erosion deterred using simple methods and community effort.
Eworth Garbutt continues to work towards improving the livelihoods of locals. With his unique ability to rally residents around a common cause, he continues to make Belize a better place.

โ€ข Eworth Garbutt โ€“ For contributions to the environment

๐‘ป๐’‰๐’๐’Ž๐’‚๐’” ๐‘ถ๐’๐’Š๐’—๐’†๐’“
Meritorious Award for contributions to Education
Thomas Oliver was born in Burrell Boom to William and Rosalie Oliver, on August 2, 1954.
At age 17, Thomas started teaching. Most of his 49-year career was spent as an educator at the Burrell Boom Methodist School, where he completed his primary education, and Wesley College. He also taught at the University of Belize and at St. Johnโ€™s Junior College.
Thomas graduated from the Belize Teachers Training College in 1979 and, in October of that same year, he started teaching at Wesley College. While there, he pursued a bachelorโ€™s degree in Secondary Education English, on a scholarship from the board of management. After 15 years at Wesley College as teacher and Head of the General Studies Department, he returned to Burrell Boom Methodist School as a teacher.
In 1997, he was appointed principal of Burrell Boom Methodist School, a position which he held for eight years before returning to the classroom. A year later, he completed his Master of Education degree with emphasis in Educational Leadership. In 2009, he once again took on the role of principal for five years before returning to Wesley College.
After almost five decades of teaching, Mr. Oliver left the profession in 2020.
Notably, during his tenure at Burrell Boom Methodist, Mr. Oliver wrote and produced โ€œLang Lip Frenk,โ€ a play for which he was awarded “most outstanding drama teacher” and the school won gold for “best dramatic production” at the 2001 Festival of the Performing Arts.
He is married to Teresita Oliver and together they have three children.

โ€ข Thomas Oliver โ€“ For contributions to education

๐‘ต๐’‚๐’“๐’„๐’Š๐’”๐’ ๐‘ป๐’๐’“๐’“๐’†๐’”
Meritorious Award for contributions to the Environment
Mr. Narciso Torres resides in Santa Familia, Cayo. The contributions this Master Forest Gardener has made over his nearly seven decades of life’s work have been shared with his community, others in the region and internationally. He has devoted his service to promoting the principles critical to sustainability, resilience, and environmental justice.
In January this year, Mr. Torres was recognized as a citizen scientist by the University of California Santa Barbara’s highest honor, The Chancellor Medal. His contribution to understanding ancient Maya land use, strategies, and practices helped chart a path of agroforestry that builds food sovereignty by expanding forest gardens for conservation and development. Mr. Torres followed in the footsteps of his elders, accumulating keen observation skills with nature to co-create a forest garden. He has undertaken knowledgeable labours to provide families and Belizeans with nourishing foods that protect the forest as a garden.
Over the last 40 years, he has participated in field research in the El Pilar area. His contributions have helped to shape the outcome of decades of investigations focused on ancient Maya settlement patterns.
Mr. Torres demonstrates tangibly the importance of conservation and sustainable development in Belize at the individual level.

โ€ข Narciso Torres โ€“ For contributions to the environment

๐‘พ๐’‚๐’๐’•๐’†๐’“ ๐‘ณ. ๐‘ฉ๐’“๐’๐’˜๐’
Meritorious Award for contributions to Community & Public Service
Walter Brown was born in Belize City on June 7, 1932, to Emmanuel and Mildred Brown of Mullins River.
In 1946, Walter graduated from Mullins River Methodist School, receiving a government scholarship to Wesley College in Belize City. Brown earned the qualifications necessary for the civil service, and soon gained a job in the Colonial Secretaryโ€™s Office.
Eager to serve both his family and country, Walter transferred to the District Commissionerโ€™s Office in Stann Creek, where he stayed for over 10 years. He was then transferred to the Treasury Department and later, promoted to acting Administration Officer in the Establishment Department.
After being selected by then Financial Secretary, Rafael Fonseca, Walter took on his first special assignment, an honor he holds dearly. He was tasked with addressing issues in the Medical Department, including payroll and infrastructure. Later, he was appointed as local counterpart to Kevin Graves, a government review commissioner. Through his efforts, several ministries were evaluated along with the public service procedures in a document called the Graves Report. Following the publication, Walter was made head of the Management Services Unit and, later, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Social Services in Stann Creek Rural.
For the next 13 years, Walter worked in many ministries and with various ministers including Hon. Louis Sylvester in the Ministry of Energy and Transport; Hon. Fred Hunter in the Ministry of Public Works, Ports and Harbors; and Hon. Curl Thompson in the Ministry of Home Affairs. He also served as the Administered Head of the Public Service and was posted to the Ministry of Social Services.
After a lifetime in public service, Walter Brown retired in June 1986. He continues to serve the people of Belize through sports and other initiatives.

โ€ข Walter Brown โ€“ For contributions to community and public service
The National Honours and Awards Act, 1991, provides that each year on Independence Day, or at such other times as may be deemed expedient, honours and awards may be conferred on persons, living or deceased, who have rendered outstanding and meritorious service to Belize, or who have distinguished themselves in other endeavours worthy of national recognition.

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