Today, March 9th, is Baron Bliss Day in Belize. On one of our visits to Belize, we were in Caye Caulker and there were many Belizeans swimming and enjoying themselves at the area they call The Split. I asked someone about it and they told me it was Baron Bliss Day and it was a holiday for many people.
I later found out that every year, on the 9th March, wreaths are placed on the tomb of Baron Bliss in his memory . The day is celebrated as a public and bank holiday, and a harbor regatta is held in remembrance of a man who loved Belize.
In 1926 Baron Bliss came to British Honduras, as Belize was known then, in search of big game fishing. When he was younger he had contracted polio and decided to travel the world in a luxury yacht. After spells in the Bahamas, Trinidad and Jamaica, he arrived in Belize harbour, where he found a climate which suited him. He was extremely fond of the local people. When he arrived in British Honduras, his health was poor, and in less than two months he died. He loved British Honduras and wrote a will that revoked any former will in order to leave the bulk of his fortune for the benefit of the people of British Honduras.
Over the decades, the Baron Bliss Fund has used money from the savings accumulated on many projects for the benefit of Belize. The projects completed have benefited all parts of Belize in different spheres. Some projects completed in the past century with the help of the Fund were The Baron Bliss Institute and Promenade, The Bliss School of Nursing, Belize City Water Supply System, Intransit Lounge at Belize International Airport, the Corozal Town Hall and the purchase of land for the building of Belmopan.
The many projects realized by the Baron Bliss Trust have benefited thousands of citizens and were all completed in conformity with the desires of the will of Baron Bliss. It is safe to say that there will be many more ways and projects through which the practical kindness and affection of Baron Bliss will continue to aid Belize, for years and years to come.
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I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled An Arkie's Faith, using articles from the column.