FIRST SCUBA DIVERS: I do not have a documented record of many of these firsts, but a good and accurate idea of most of them. In scuba diving there is no known record, but probably “Mista” Jim Currie who lived aboard his yacht The Pamelyn had diving equipment in his luxury yacht.
As I recollect, Jerry McDermott and his partner who came to build Paradise Hotel some 40 years ago were among some of the first to engage in scuba diving. Alan Forman had also gone down in the “cenote” (deep fresh water hole) at Basil Jones with a scuba tank. Do we call that scuba diving? By the way, Jerry McDermott’s friend lost his life in one of those early dives outside the reef on a very windy day. Other early divers were Edwardo Brown, Adolfo Ayuso, and Ramon Nuñez.
FIRST FEMALE PILOT: Without a doubt many of you will guess this very multifaceted woman to have the record as San Pedro’s first female pilot. She is also one of the first female graduates from a high school, a great woman with a great personality, a great chef, a lovely mother and spouse, and active community service-minded person, and first in the hotel and tourism business. By now you are no longer guessing but know that I am talking about our first Sanpedrana pilot, and she is none other than Celi McCorkel, of Holiday Hotel.
FIRST BEAUTY QUEEN: The first beauty pageant and popularity contest held in San Pedro was in 1955 (50 years ago) and the winner was Miss Leni Aguilar now Leni Alamilla, proud mother of Leni Nunez, Chabby Ayuso, and Lucy Marin. Miss San Pedro 1955 is still going strong, very active in family and religious affairs, and still a beauty at her age. San Pedro is proud of this courageous girl who in 1955 took that first and historic title.
FIRST LIONS: The very first San Pedro Lions were actually members of the Belize City Lions Club. They are Wil Alamilla, Allan Forman and Pete Salazar. Lionism was introduced to San Pedro by these Lions and our very first president was Pete Salazar who was installed on October 25, 1975. The secretary was Johnny Lizama and the charter night ceremony was held at Marino’s Bar and Rooftop. The meetings were held regularly at Skin Diver’s Club belonging to Lion Ovidio Guerrero. Of the 35 founding members, only about 8 still remain in the club, which is now going on its 30th year.
FIRST LIONS GOVERNOR: For the country of Belize, it was Lions Pete Lizarraga (RIP), who was elected at a Lions convention held in San Pedro. The first Sanpedrano Lions Governor was Lion Pete Salazar.