Gene and I first met while attending a senior picnic in Shiloh, IL in the summer of 2019. Gene became interested in sharing his story with me. Shortly after this meeting, he asked me to help him write a book about his life. A deep and meaningful friendship was born.

I spent the next 2 ½ years gathering information with Gene for the book. He introduced me to many people from his past and I traveled with him to Belize; where Gene co-founded a program called the “Belize Children’s Project” (BCP for short). In collaboration with Shriners and Rotary Clubs, along with several amazing host families. The project works to bring children in Belize who need orthopedic surgery to the Shriner’s hospital in St. Louis, MO. The program has aided over 400 kids through the years. Many of the children Gene helped lovingly refer to him as “Uncle Gene”.

Gene not only co-founded the Belize Children’s Project, but he also worked closely with seniors. He was instrumental in the founding of PSOP (Programs and Services for Older Persons), in Belleville, IL.

In 2020, working with me, and with the generous financial support of friends and family, he founded “The Uncle Gene Foundation”, a public charity aiding underprivileged children and senior adults.

Gene Verdu truly lived to serve others. Sadly, he passed away in March of 2022 before his book was finished. I have carried on the work to bring forward the story of this wonderful person.
The book is set for release early in 2023. Proceeds will be donated to the Uncle Gene Foundation.

–Mike Stith

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