Posted: Saturday, October 18, 2014. 12:11 pm CST.
Saturday, October 18, 2014. AARON HUMES Reporting: The Peace Corps has been active in Belize since its founding under President John F. Kennedy.
At a critical time in this nation’s history, when it stood on the threshold of independence, a young volunteer originally from Eugene, Oregon, came to Belize from Sierra Leone to train track and field coaches and build a national athletics program.
40 years later, Ted W. Cox, now retired and owner of a restaurant in Corvallis, Oregon, is back, and this week presented a book he wrote about his experiences in the then-British Honduras between 1971 and 1973.
Called “When British Honduras Became Belize: A Peace Corps Memoir,” the book takes readers back to a time when Belize had no modern synthetic track, hardly any resources, but still produced sporting legends.
Cox says he relied on his own photographs of activities in which he participated and letters sent home to family to write the memoir, which he started three years ago and completed four months ago.
Cox also reached out to many friends and acquaintances on his travels through the country at the time for background information on everything from the Buccaneer jet fly-by by British forces following Guatemalan aggression in January of 1972 to his friendship with then-Governor Sir Richard Posnett.
But according to Cox, his greatest legacy in Belize are the many individuals still involved in athletics at every level, some of whom he met on his countrywide book tour which started in Corozal and ended today in Belize City.
Among these are coaches Herman Morris and Fred Evans and teacher Jaime Sanchez based in Cayo District.
Cox also wrote and performed the first ever nationwide physical fitness test for schools which he administered to 1,200 students.
Cox says Belizeans have not lost their innate sense of kindness and accommodation to all people and we take fairly good care of our environment, a fact not lost on Ted’s wife who made the observation to him while driving the Hummingbird Highway.
But Belize has come a long way since the 1970’s in infrastructural development if not in corresponding athletic glory.
The book is available at local outlets and you can read it for free at the nearest branch of the National Library Service.
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