Who We Are
My name was Rob Widdowson, but in 1991 I changed it to Will Jones when I became a fugitive from justice. I fled to Belize where, after having many adventures over many years, I settled down to raise a little boy, my stepson, Tybren. His mother, Brendaly, had been living with me for four years; our relationship was stormy. Somehow she managed to get pregnant and the result was a beautiful, healthy boy. His biological father wasn’t interested, so I decided to take him as my own son.
Tybren is now nine (the photo is from when he was six). He’s handsome and very bright. Tybren loves to work with his hands and will be an excellent builder one day. He’s also got a hint of sadness about him, perhaps because almost every important person in his short life has abandoned him at one time or another. Not permanently, but does that really matter?
So Ty and his mother began living with me in Punta Gorda. By the time he was two years old, we had a routine established. They would stay with me four days a week, then with Ty’s grandmother, Bee, in Cattle Landing. When they were gone, I could catch up on my consulting work which was picking up and beginning to support us nicely.
Right around that time, I began helping the Town Council develop projects for Punta Gorda.. A few months later, the Mayor, Floyd Lino, sent me to the head of a neighborhood watch committee in the beautifully named Hopeville area. They had an acre set aside for a park for local residents. The site was only a few hundred yards from where Ty stayed with Bee. I thought this is perfect; when Ty’s a little older, they can bring him here to play. So all the time that I worked on the proposal, I imagined Ty using the Hopeville playground.
As we put the proposal together, my excellent friend Mark Miller told me about a group of high school kids from Rotary International in Canada who had raised funds for ten complete sets of playground equipment to be donated to Belize; we signed up for one. The whole proposal was approved for funding just before I turned myself in.
When I came back two years later, Ty’s Mom had moved in with someone else, and Ty was living with his gran, Bee. I wanted to be close to him, so I rented a little house in Hopeville about one block from the new park. By now he was nearly six, and the playground was perfect. I told him that I had written the grant and that I had been thinking about him when I put it together. A few weeks later, I found out that he had told all the other kids that I had made the park for him and that they had to have his permission to play there.
Eventually I got him to understand that the playground was for everyone, and it was more fun to play there when lots of other kids were having fun too. Now three and a half years later, Ty still plays in the park nearly every day that he stays with me. Kids come from all over town and from Cattle Landing to use it. And nobody has to ask permission.