|Francisco "Pancho" Verde
Many times we have heard children and young adults being asked the same question - "Who is your role model?" Caught by surprise, some answer with the name of their favorite movie star or teacher. If the same question was inquired of you today, would you know who to reply? A role model can be someone who has made a big impact on your life or the life of others. This person is generally characterized as a mentor, a person who demonstrates high moral character and displays a commitment to the betterment of his or her community. This week The San Pedro Sun is pleased to feature a person who possesses these qualities and more - Mr. Francisco "Pancho" Verde.
Francisco was born in the peaceful village of Xcalak, Mexico on March 8th, 1951 to Porfiria Sansorez of Xcalak and Juan Verde of San Pedro Village. Francisco's family immigrated to San Pedro after Hurricane Janet destroyed their small Mexican village when Pancho was only four years old. During this time Mexican immigrants made up about half the population of San Pedro. Young Francisco completed his elementary school education in San Pedro, but he was unable to attend high school. When Pancho was only 12 years old his father passed away and he became the sole provider for the family. He fished for lobster, conch and fish to support his mother and sister. At the age of 16, he began skin diving for lobster and going on longer fishing expeditions. At a time when most fishermen celebrated their catch by spending money on liquor and other pleasures, Pancho, a wise young man, gave his earnings to his mother to save as no banks were available back then.
In the year 1976, twenty-five year-old Pancho joined his life in marriage to Pinita Gomez. The young couple soon began to make a family of their own and are now the proud parents of four children: Eloysita (23), Patty (21), Ricky (18) and Emily (17).
Now a family man, Pancho was more motivated to save and expanded his means of income by making beach (fish) traps and lobster traps. With tourism beginning to flourish in San Pedro, Pancho first bought a second-hand boat he used for tour guiding. From the profits earned taking visitors fishing, snorkeling, shelling and other trips he was able to save enough money to turn his wooden house into a concrete building, purchase two new skiffs, and most importantly, educate his children. Presently, two of his children (Eloysita and Patty) have earned their Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration; Ricky is attending the University of Belize; and Emily is enrolled at St. John's College Junior College.
Francisco Verde has also dedicated much of his time to the betterment of his community. He has served a two-year term on the San Pedro Roman Catholic School Parents Teachers Association, has been president of the San Pedro Tour Guide Association on two different occasions, and is a Charter Member of the San Pedro Lions Club. With the Lions, Mr. Verde has made a lasting impact. He held the position of president in 1984 and recently accepted this position again. He has served as treasurer, clinic chairman, regional chairman and has also been a participant on numerous sub-committees of the Lions Club.
When asked by The San Pedro Sun what he enjoys the most Pancho answered that he is especially fascinated by traveling to new lands and learning about different cultures and lifestyles. But again, he reiterated that his priority is to give his children the best education possible and only then can he concentrate on his travels. In closing, this fine gentleman stated, "I just hope to live a long, healthy life with my family. I am happy to have met and married such a wonderful lady."
Throughout the years Francisco Verde has rightfully gained the status of professional tour guide, loving parent and husband, and dedicated Lion member. He "serves" as a source of inspiration to many and is considered a true role model in "Our Community."