The San Pedro Lions Club

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 16, No. 48            December 7, 2006

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A ribbon cutting ceremony at the San Pedro Lions Clinic in 1978.

One of the club’s past formal events.

Lion Flora Ancona was the first female president to be installed in San Pedro. It was a title she took on with honor.

Tio Pil receiving his Melvin Jones Fellowship award.

This year the San Pedro Lions Club celebrated 31 years of community, national and international service. The island Club, registered with Lions Clubs International, is proud to be a part of 1.3 million members in 200 countries or geographical areas. Known as the most active and outgoing organization in “La Isla Bonita,” the San Pedro Lions Club has come a long way, earning the trust and respect of the community. The San Pedro Sun is honored to share a brief overview of the San Pedro Lions Club.

    Lionism began in San Pedro as a result of three local men, namely Wilfredo Alamilla, Alan Forman and Pedro Salazar Sr. who joined the Belize City Lions Club and decided to start their own club in San Pedro. After spreading the word about this worldwide organization and its objectives, they were ready to form a new club. On October 25th, 1975, the San Pedro Lions Club was officially chartered, boasting an enrollment of 36 members. This historical celebration was held at Los Marinos Club.

    The first president elected to assume the challenges of leading these members was Lion Pedro Salazar Sr. Eager to see the humble village of San Pedro progress, the Club identified a number of community projects, but their main priority was to build and sustain a much-needed health facility in their growing community. A series of meetings were held to discuss draft plans, establish a location and obtain approval for the construction of this ambitious project. The San Pedro Lions Clinic project commenced on October 5th, 1976, under the dynamic leadership of President Wilfredo Alamilla Sr. The clinic was completed in April 1978, just weeks before District 59’s first National Convention, hosted by the San Pedro Lions Club. President Edilberto “Beto” Marin recalls this particular year as “fantastic,” with the San Pedro Lions National Queen candidate, Alma Staines, winning the prestigious title of District 59 Queen.

    This started the ball rolling and since then the San Pedro Lions have embraced the spirit of the Lions emblem – demonstrating pride, heritage and confidence in the future. Other great men continued to lead the San Pedro Lions Club over the next years; men who worked hard to assist the needy, supported by enthusiastic members and a generous and caring community.

    In July 2000, the San Pedro Lions Club once again made history when they selected their first female president. This honor was bestowed upon Lion Flora Ancona, a proven hardworking and dedicated member. The island Club also takes pride in providing three District Governors who successfully led all the Lions Clubs of Belize. These accomplished leaders, still active in the Club today, are Lions Edilberto “Beto” Marin, Baldemar Graniel and Pedro Salazar Sr. In addition, the San Pedro Lions Club has awarded the highest honor of Lionism – The Melvin Jones Fellow Award to four individuals. This title of respect has been bestowed upon Lions Abel Guerrero Sr., Edilberto “Beto” Marin, Alfredito Alamilla (deceased), Mrs. Celi McCorkle, Felipe “Tio Pil” Paz Sr., Pete Salazar, Baldemar Graniel, Ramon Nuñez, Angel Nuñez, Jose Alamilla, Ruben Gonzalez, Milo Paz Jr., Nita Marin, and Fransisco Verde.

    After having been in construction since 1999, in March of 2005, the San Pedro Lions Club reached yet another milestone in their quest for adequate health care in San Pedro. The completed two-story concrete building now houses the San Pedro PolyClinic II which provides added services in an improved environment on “La Isla Bonita.” Services now available include: maternal and child healthcare, including pre-natal and post-natal services; pediatric services available four hours a week; vaccinations for both children and adults; gynecology and obstetrics services available four hours a week; mental health services available eight hours a month; and the services of the public health officer who is available during normal working hours. Another great service is the inclusion of a pharmacy in the building, which will provide proper medication to the patients. It was a great day for San Pedro Lions to finally see this dream become a reality!

    With a mission statement to help the needy members of the community, the San Pedro Lions Club received international recognition as they were selected as one of three finalists for the International Academy Awards presented by Lions Clubs International in the Club of the Year category. It was a great honor when President Nita Marin traveled to Hong Kong and received in honor of the San Pedro Lions Club the Club of the Year award on June 29th, 2005. Receiving an honorable mention that year as well was Past President Lion Milo Paz Jr. who was up for the Lion of the Year award.

    In their thirty one years of existence, the San Pedro Lions Club has managed to aid countless people with emergency medical treatment, as well as a variety of other charitable services, in their area and other locations around the world. The Club also participates enthusiastically in annual projects such as the Peace Poster Competition, the Lions Club International Foundation fundraiser, World Service Day and most recently, as part of the organizing team for the first-ever Tertiary Level Public Speaking Competition. Of course, it goes without saying that the San Pedro Lions weekly barbecue has become a trademark function for the island Lions, as both visitors and residents alike look forward to treating themselves to this finger-licking cuisine.

    Although the Club has suffered its ups and downs throughout their thirty one years of service, they move forward with an endless ambition and exemplify the Lions motto “We Serve.” Presently, under the able leadership of Lion Stephen Manuel Sr., the Club hopes to continue its mission, utilizing the strength of its members and the unswerving loyalty of this island community. Guided in their service by the Lions Clubs Objectives and Code of Ethics, the San Pedro Lions pledge to AID others by giving their sympathy to those in distress, their aid to the weak, and their substance to the needy in “Our Community.”
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