Our Community - Lily Nuņez - "Keeping San Pedro Entertained"

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 10, No. 29            July 20, 2000

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Lily Nuņez

Mr. Webster defines the world PERSONALITY as "distinctive qualities and traits of an individual; or social and personal traits that make a person appealing." Many will agree that one of San Pedro's top personalities who possesses great qualities, is this week's feature - Mrs. Lilia "Lily" Nuņez.

Lily was born in San Pedro on August 15th, 1964 to exemplary parents, Bina and Felipe Paz Sr. Since childhood, her parents made sure to instill good moral values in Lily, her two brothers and sister. Lily grew up a humble young girl attending San Pedro Roman Catholic School and High School. Lily first entered the working field as a pupil teacher for the infant class at the San Pedro R. C. School. It was during these two years that she married Luis Nuņez, also of San Pedro Town. After the birth of her first child, Luisana, Lily decided to stay home for a while. When she went back into the working field, it was as a receptionist at Ramon's Village. After four years at Ramon's, she left to care for her second child, Liliana. Today Luisana is in her last year at St. John's College/Junior College and Liliana is a sophomore at San Pedro High School.

Lily devoted most of her time to taking care of her family but little by little, she became involved in community functions. In 1984, Lily was given the responsibility of planning the first Mother's Day Program for San Pedro. Lily immediately put her leadership skills to work and after recruiting an outstanding team held the town's first successful Mother's Day event. She continued doing this for nine consecutive years, and also aided other committees two other years. Lily had proven that she was a capable organizer, so she took over management of the September Celebrations as well. This included children's rallies, parades and the ever-popular Miss San Pedro Pageant competition (Lily won Miss San Pedro in 1979).

After working closely with members of the Town Board, she was given the opportunity to run as a candidate for their elections in 1990. Lily was convinced that she could help her community in this way and accepted. She was the first woman in San Pedro to run and win in an election for Town Board. She served as a member for three years with her assigned portfolio being the promotion of cultural events. She prides herself in saying that during this time, she and her committee managed to upgrade the Carnaval and Dia de San Pedro Festivities. Since her term in office, Lily has maintained her support of the community. Whether it has been school, religious, Lions Club or other charitable function, she has aided in some way.

Although Lily can still be seen running around town for different functions, her latest "baby" is the San Pedro Dance Company. The idea of forming this group came to her in September of 1998. Working closely with friends and with the support of the San Pedro Town Board, she acquired the services of a teacher from the Belize Dance Company to come to San Pedro to get the group started. Within a month's time, the first class, consisting of 35 students, began training. Since that time, the San Pedro Dance Company has grown bigger and better, performing nationally and abroad. Today, Lily serves as the President of the Company which now enrolls over 100 dancers, divided into eight groups. The San Pedro Dance Company now participates in a Dancer's cultural exchange program with The Dance Factory of Wisconsin, USA.

Keeping in mind all Lily's community efforts are done voluntarily and from the heart, she still manages to make a living. Her "bread and butter" comes from long hours she puts into her business of many years, making meat pies. Since 1991, her product has been featured at various establishments in San Pedro. Her work begins as early as 4:30 in the morning, for the pies to be ready by 6:00 a.m.; everyday except Sundays. She then helps her father "Tio Pil" in the day-to-day operations of Lily's Hotel; a job she has done for seven years now. When asked how she manages to keep up with her daily chores and the wonderful volunteer work she performs, Lily told the San Pedro Sun, "I enjoy what I do and it makes me feel happy that I can do something good for my hometown. My greatest wish is for the youth to be more actively involved in the functions held in this town. I must also warn them that not everything will be a bed of roses when they try to do something good for their community, because it is not easy to please everybody. My message to them is to do their best in any project they engage themselves in and expect no rewards except what they get from knowing that they did something good for their community."

Lily Paz Nuņez has, and still is, a perfect example of the talented leaders in San Pedro. Because of her tremendous contribution to our society she has been named a Justice of the Peace and is the driving force that creates memorable events in "Our Community."

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