Pacific Spotlight: Lee P. Webber
Q: YOU’VE LIVED IN GUAM FOR ALMOST FOUR DECADES. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST IMPRESSION OF THE ISLAND?
A: Coming from Vietnam (where Webber served as a Navy corpsman attached to a Marine Corps unit), Guam was QUIET. The biggest impression was the people. They are very patriotic. As a serviceman you were welcomed here, and it is the same way today. Very relaxing is what it was, and Guam is still a very relaxing place compared to large cities.
Q: MOST OF YOUR PROFESSIONAL LIFE HAS BEEN IN THE NEWSPAPER INDUSTRY, INCLUDING WORKING AT THE PACIFIC DAILY NEWS FOR 37 YEARS. WHY DID YOU MAKE THIS YOUR LIFE’S WORK?
A: My father and uncle had a newspaper distribution agency. For me, it was a kind of forced indoctrination – taking care of newspaper boys and truck drivers, the logistics side of circulation. I later worked the police beat, sports and city government in the newsroom of the Sun-Telegraph in San Bernadino. But basically, I enjoy the publishing aspect of newspapers, being involved in the molding of opinion. It has given me the opportunity to do everything, to see things and meet people. I feel fortunate to have had it.
Q: YOU HAVE ALSO WORKED AT THE ADVERTISER IN HAWAII. ARE THERE MANY DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE TWO ISLAND PARADISES?
A: They are very similar, but they have their own idiosyncrasies. Hawaii is like Guam on steroids. It is bigger, has more people and is more expensive. The indigenous folks on Guam have a more active role in crafting government and politics.
Q: YOU LEAD A VERY ACTIVE LIFE OUTSIDE OF WORK.
A: My experience as a Navy corpsman attached to the Marine Corps changed my viewpoint of physical activity. It probably had to do with more than 1 gunnery sergeant (that I ran into), and maybe a few of them. I walk, swim, scuba dive and still shoot actively. I have been slowed though by some compression fractures, some injuries from Vietnam.
Q: YOU ARE ALSO HEAVILY INVOLVED WITH CHARITIES AND OTHER COMMUNITY WORK.
A: Through organizations here, I have an opportunity to give back to the community. I try to strike a balance between the groups I am involved in by spending time in places where I can actually contribute.
Q: YOU HAVE RETIRED FROM THE NEWSPAPER BUSINESS. WHAT IS LIFE LIKE FOR YOU NOW?
A: Retirement is not all it is cracked up to be. I still work because I want to work. I am president of MDA (Micronesian Divers Association) because I love scuba diving. I have been doing it for about 40 years and it is something you can do as long as your health permits. There are people in their 80s and 90s who are still diving. It’s a different world, like God’s world upside down. It’s enjoyable and relaxing. You can meet a lot of fun people and care for the environment.
Q: YOU HAVE BEEN INVOLVED IN HELPING TO PROTECT SHARKS. WHY IS THAT?
A: I have helped to make shark finning (the removal of shark fins and discarding of the rest of the shark) illegal in Hawaii and Guam. Sharks have a bad rap, but of the 300 species of sharks, there are only five you have to be afraid of, including the “great white.” Except for those five, most sharks warn you when you do something they don’t like. They attack you if they mistake you for a turtle or a seal or something else. People are the same size as most sharks, and they don’t want to tangle with you.
Q: ARE YOU GLAD YOU DECIDED TO MAKE GUAM YOUR HOME?
A: I’ve had so much fun doing what I’ve done and enjoyed my life so much. I feel so fortunate. I feel blessed sitting at my desk looking at the Pacific. I come to work in shorts, an aloha shirt and deck shoes. I don’t know how I could ask for more.
Know someone whose accomplishments, talents, job, hobby, volunteer work, awards or good deeds qualify them for 15 minutes of fame? How about someone whose claim to glory is a bit out of the ordinary – even, dare we say, oddball? If so, nominate them here.
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