Posted: Monday, August 8, 2022. 6:45 am CST.
By Hugh O’Brien: “Death has a very dark reputation but, actually, to die is a perfectly normal thing to happen.” In the biology of plants this is called senescence and the senescence or death of a plant means that they are making space for their seeds to take over. It ought to be a sad day, but in the true spirit of positivity that Orlando ‘Landy’ Harrison transcended, or if you believe in an after-life, we can be comforted to know that Landy is heading to meet his brother Richard and his sisters Dorita and Karen, and the dialogue of ideas, opportunities and projects will continue, guided by the stable hands of his loving younger sister Karen.
And while Landy will be united in heaven with Richard, Dorita, Karen, their dad Carlos, and their mom Melba, we can further be comforted knowing that Landy is leaving behind four wonderful seeds in the likes of Roberto, Jeanelle, Sadani, Rochelle, and his 5 grandchildren, Sadani Jr., Brielle, Kian, Amalei and Zea. And though all mature, these 4 wonderful and well planted seeds of Landy will continue to receive the able guidance of their mom, Ms. Maria Polanco.
Orlando Rene Harrison, or Landy as he was more commonly known, had quite a distinguishing character and was a loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, uncle, cousin and a friend to many.
Landy would entertain anyone he met with his keen sense of humour and with his illustrative ideas, which he delivered superbly with his incredible personality. Landy shared his business ideas and concepts with passion, and would easily convince you that his idea was a must do one. And Landy shared and discussed these thought-provoking ideas at his places of business, at board meetings, at gas stations, at shopping centres and at his home, long before the social media likes of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Landy was born in San Ignacio on the 13th September 1962, and is the fourth born to Carlos and Melba Harrison. From a tender age, and while still living with his parents, it was clear that Landy was headed for greatness. Carlos taught his son Landy the value of hard work, and soon after Landy graduated from Sacred Heart College in 1980, his dad took him to the bush to help with the family’s sawmill operations.
Landy met Maria Polanco in 1990, and the union produced four children, and 5 adored grandchildren. Landy and Maria spent 32 years together, a loving union it was, one which they cherished dearly but chose to share their life’s challenges and accomplishments only with people who were dear to them. Landy challenged his children, wanted them to be independent and successful, and he guided them on a pathway to success in both life and business. He admitted, like many of us parents do, that to transmit some of these shared values to our children is not easy, but he made sure to never lose hope in the vision for success that he was passionate about. Despite the challenges that came their way, his children consider him a great and loving father, a man who spent time with them and his grandchildren, and he simply wanted to raise respectable, productive and successful children.
Many of us know of Landy’s passion for business ideas and concepts. He was a well-respected businessman in the twin towns of San Ignacio and Santa Elena, and across Belize in general. He pioneered Big-H orange juice, using only a pigtail bucket and a spout he fixed at the bottom of the bucket in the early days and built Big-H juice to a nationally recognized brand. Landy used the foundation he structured for Big-H juice and piloted other projects including Vida purified water, Juicy Juice, Mamita milk, A/C service and repair, a gas station in San Ignacio and Belize City, Meluchi’s restaurant and bar, and for a while Landy had the largest coconut plantation in Belize, with 50 acres of coconut planted in the El Pilar area.
Orlando Harrison and his brother Richard, founded the La Ruta Maya Belize River Challenge, which today is well recognized internationally and is a canoe race that is an annual staple in local circles.
I had the privilege of being a close confidant and advisor to Landy when his Big-H empire ran into very serious and near impossible issues with the gullible Belize Bank and the Ashcroft empire. I must say I admired Landy’s resilience when faced with this extreme adversity. Many men faced with his situation would have gone to extremes, which I will not mention here, but Landy remained poignant, held his head high as he fell from grace, and he never gave up.
And in his usual way, he rebounded by joining us as a business partner in Buena Vista Development Limited, starting HL’s Furniture and more recently he pioneered Buena Vista Communications Center Limited, a call center operation based in San Ignacio that has employed up to 40 employees since commencing business.
A few years ago Landy was diagnosed with Diabetes. Not long after, he started having kidney issues as a result of complications caused by Diabetes. He was placed on dialysis which began with one session a week, then 2 sessions a week. A few weeks ago, his dialysis had to be increased from 2 times a week to 3 times a week. Despite this his passion to persevere in life and venture into new businesses was undaunted.
And about his health and dialysis, Landy in his usual way had good advice for all of us. “Sometimes we feel invincible and abuse the privileges God bestow on us. Best we follow the physician’s recommendations for a check-up every six months and know your health status”, he posted on July 28th on Facebook where he also shared a photo of himself hooked up to the Dialysis machine. With his passing Landy is no longer in pain, he does not have to be hooked up to a machine anymore.
This is not a goodbye, and having a strong faith in God, we know that Landy is at peace. At some point, everyone will link again, and we will see him when that time comes. Go on, enjoy your own life with the highest of energy and positivity reminiscent of what Landy transcended and would have wanted us to do. To his children, carry on the legacy of your dad, replicate his resilience and do so with the greatest spirit of family unity and with humility and great respect for others.
Rest in peace primo until we meet again.
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