A first ever Cayo Football Awards and Mighty Avengers Football Hall of Fame induction was held yesterday at the Henry’s Eden Resort on the outskirts of San Ignacio on the Benque Viejo Road. In a beautiful ceremony attended by relatives, friends and long time Avengers fans, awards of recognition and appreciation were given to various individuals who have made their mark and contribution to football in the Cayo District. Special recognition was given to surviving veteran members of the famous Western District selections of the 1940’s – ‘60’s, the Verdes Football Club of the 1980’s, as well as lifetime members, fans and supporters of the Mighty Avengers Football Club, which graced the football arenas and thrilled audiences from 1968 until 1979. But the highlight of the evening was the induction of the first group of 7 former stars into the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame.
Each of the 7 candidates for the first ever induction to the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame was introduced by a presenter, who said a few words by way of commendation and justification for their selection to this great honor; after which each was afforded the privilege to address the gathering. The event was a warm reunion of men who had trained and played together for years, and a number of them were overwhelmed by emotions when beginning their address. The moment was more emotional because of the recent passing of two former Avengers stars, Calbert “Culebra” Neal and Samuel “Pilis” Neal, Pilis being one of the 7 first inductees, who passed away just nine days before the event. Pilis was presented by his wife of 45 years, Esmay, and represented in the awards ceremony by his son, Samuel. The other 6 inductees were all present to receive their plaques from guest speaker Hon. Michael Finnegan and be named to the Mighty Avengers Hall of Fame.
The 7 inductees were: (1) Gerald “Speedy” Henry; (2) Cristino Jorge “Maya” Ortega; (3) Albert “Pappy” Smith; (4) Daniel “Nayo” Waght; (5) Samuel “Pilis” Neal; (6) Theodore “Bones” Lennan; and (7) Raymond “Steela” Garbutt.
After a tolling of the bell for the departed, and a vote of thanks by organizing committee secretary David Cruz, the Avengers awardees all sang together the Mighty Avengers Club Song, Heart of Jesus.
N.B. A more detailed report will be in our weekend issue.