It all began with a hurricane and a guitar...
Charitable gestures can sometimes inspire a chain reaction of generosity that expands and even comes to a full circle. Such is the story that led to a generous donation this week where music legend Jerry Jeff Walker presented SP Lions President Melanie Paz with a $2,000 cash donation. It all began with a hurricane and a guitar.
In an interview with long time island resident and recognized local musician Dale Clayton Wallace who is friends with Walker, in 2000 when Hurricane Keith took its toll on Ambergris Caye island musician Chico Flores found himself without a guitar. Being a man who knows what life without a guitar can mean to a musician, Walker, who has a retreat here on Ambergris Caye and performs annually at Wet Willy's, generously offered one of his guitars to Flores. Years later, Wallace acquired the guitar from Flores.
Two years ago, in an unfortunate turn of events, Mr. Wallace found himself looking for funds to help two of his grandchildren who had suddenly lost their father. Knowing that each year Jerry Jeff Walker holds an annual birthday bash in Texas, US where he often auctions autographed guitars from his personal collection for local charities, Wallace thought Walker may be interested in auctioning his long gone island guitar to help raise funds for his fatherless grandchildren.
Walker was more than happy to help out. Wallace, who over the last ten years has become a skilled at building guitars, refurbished the instrument and Conrad Olson took the island guitar to Texas where Walker autographed it and auctioned it for a handsome price, all which went to benefit the grandchildren. Dale Clayton Wallace was so appreciative he offered to build a guitar that Jerry Jeff Walker could in turn auction in San Pedro to benefit a local charity of his choice on the island.
For years Jerry Jeff Walker has held sold-out, week-long "Camp Belize" parties in San Pedro where loyal fans travel from all corners of the globe to enjoy his private concerts and social gatherings at Wet Willy's Cantina. This year is no different, and the first of two "camps" concluded this week. On Thursday night the campers all joined for music and fun at Wet Willy's and the guitar that Wallace have skillfully fashioned in the classic Spanish/Torres style was not only autographed by Jerry Jeff Walker, but renowned writer and poet HR Stoneback who is featured in the famous JJW song "Stoney", and Dale Clayton Wallace as well. The crowd enthusiastically bid on the guitar and in the end Bob Vollmer of Vacaville, CA, US had the top bid, purchasing the guitar for $1,000US. Vollmer was delighted to win the bid and add the coveted guitar to his collection.
In an interview with Jerry Jeff Walker, Walker told The Sun that he was thrilled at the idea of auctioning one of Dale's guitars here on the island. "I wanted the monies raised to go to a worthy cause and I had noticed that although the Mosquito Coast Lions Park is looking nice, the boat dock is in very bad shape. I saw a family trying to dock there and they were having a hard time. I would like to help get that dock replaced so that families can enjoy the whole area," stated Walker.
On Friday night Walker presented the $2,000bz to SP Lions President Paz, with Vollmer and Wallace on hand to share in the occasion. Wallace later mentioned it's a win, win situation for everyone. The bidder is thrilled to get the collectable guitar, Jerry Jeff Walker gets to give back to the community, and people find out about his custom made guitars. SP Lions President Paz was more than pleased to accept the generous donation and commented that the funds will acquire a good amount of the building materials needed. "With the help of Lions members and volunteers doing the work, we should be able to get a good start on the new dock," stated Paz.
For more information about Jerry Jeff Walkers, annual "Camp Belize" visit http://www.jerryjeff.com and for more information about Dale Clayton Wallace's custom made guitars he can be contacted at 206-2445 or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marco Gonzalez Project receives award from Upton Foundation
Press Release - Marco Gonzalez Project - January 31st, 2011
- The Marco Gonzalez Board of Directors is proud to announce its' first grant for the archaeology project on the southern tip of Ambergris Caye. Matt Fowler, owner of Mr. Joe's Grocery, is a family member of the Frederick S. Upton Foundation in the US. Mr. Fowler has developed an interest in the Maya Site and encouraged submitting a grant application in the fall of 2010. The amount of $5,000 USD was awarded, along with a Challenge Grant of $10,000 USD. Matt is also a member of the Board of Directors of Marco Gonzalez. When the $5,000 cheque arrived, he and Jan Brown, Chairman of the Board, shared the moment with a hand shake and photo opportunity.
Fundraising ideas are being discussed of how to meet the Grant Challenge. Once an additional $10K USD is obtained, Upton Foundation will match that amount. This will put the Project on its' way to meet the anticipated $1.5Mil USD needed for the exciting venture. The Vision statement for the Marco Gonzalez Maya Site Project is: "To unfold the mysteries of a 2000 year old Maya Site on Ambergris Caye, Belize, and provide education of the ancient Maya island lifestyle to persons of all ages." Due to the location of the site, an ecologically friendly raised boardwalk will be built at a distance of over a quarter mile across mangrove marshland to reach the 7.57 acre site. Future plans include a Visitor/Education Center which will serve a dual purpose; the building will showcase artifacts and history of the Maya site and have an educational center for the over 2,000 children on the island to study their Mayan history up close and personal. This Center will provide many jobs for San Pedranos as well as develop into a wonderful tourism site for our visitors.
Eco-visits are available to the public now that a temporary footbridge has been constructed. A second amount of $5,000 USD was also awarded from Mr. Fowler for the construction done last summer to accommodate a field school. Soon there will be a sign giving credit to the Frederick S. Upton Foundation for their generosity. Additional donations are being accepted by contacting any of the Board Members - Dee Thomas, Josie Nuñez, Matt Fowler, Pete Salazar Sr, Joe Lawrence, Frank Panton, Manuel Heredia III, Giovanni Marin, or Jan Brown, 226-2059/662-2725. To schedule an eco-visit, please call Jan Brown. She is looking forward to a government document being Gazetted within the next few months so local tour guides can be hired and trained for Marco tours.
San Pedro Sun