Gallon Jug Community School: Belize flag & US flag at half staff
When Michael Casey & Jillian Schuessler came to Gallon Jug in 2001, we never imagined they would stay for 9 years. That was about 15 years into our own sojourn in Belize. Belize is a paradise for the right sort of person. And some people just can't stick it out. Mike & Jill sort of happened into Belize, stumbled into it about the same way we did, never imagining they would build a life here as is the case for so many of us that end up staying long after that first trial year.
To be honest, we'd seen many people come and go. We watched as Mike & Jill jumped in with both feet at the Gallon Jug Community School, embracing the life, the community and the kids. They got graduate degrees, married, started a family, and changed lives, including ours. They brought a new energy and aim toward excellence with them. Jill & Mike had a gift of involving everyone in every corner of our little community. The school evolved and was soon transformed. It became clear that learning and education and community were passions for them and they weren't going to leave any time soon.
Unfortunately, as it turns out, they left us far too soon. A departure that leaves a tremendous hole in our little community. We will miss their commitment and dedication to learning, their place in our community, Mike's humor and warmth and Jill's steady good nature and kindness. And, their two young children, Makayla and Bryce, that we barely got to know. All killed in the 26 February plane crash that also took the life of the pilot, Sir Barry Bowen.
They are profoundly missed.