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Thursday, April 24, 2014

‘Pellegrino’s passing a big loss to agriculture industry’

Although he may be more popular as the man behind the first-ever trade institute in the Commonwealth, the pioneer of a water manufacturing firm, or the force behind the first shrimp farm on the island, ranchers and farmers think of Anthony Pellegrino as first and foremost a great agriculturist.

This was what Isidoro Cabrera, a close friend of the late Pellegrino, shared with Saipan Tribune yesterday, describing Pellegrino’s passing as a big loss to the islands’ agriculture industry.

Pellegrino officially registered as a member of the Saipan Sabalu Farmers’ Market in 2007. Cabrera, at the time the cooperative’s president, said it was the start of a good friendship.

“He came to me full of dreams and visions for our farmers. I can’t help myself but admire him for having a big heart for us considering his status as already an established businessman,” said Cabrera.

Pellegrino, according to Cabrera, did not only win his trust and admiration but also earned the respect of farmers and ranchers who learned and benefited from the ideals of the late businessman. Just a year after being a member, the organization elected Pellegrino as their new president.

According to Cabrera, Pellegrino pushed for the acquisition of Artic Circle Air for the sake and welfare of the islands’ farmers and ranchers. The carrier now transports local produce of CNMI farmers to the neighboring island of Guam.

“In reality, Tony had no dream of owning the business [Article Circle operation]. This is why he opened it up to the community. He wanted to make sure that the farmers and ranchers will take pride of its operation as their own,” said Cabrera.

This was the same vision Pellegrino had when he started the slaughterhouse on Saipan, Cabrera said.

He disclosed that Pellegrino died as a minority stockholder of Arctic Circle, which is now majority controlled by Rota Resort after infusing $2 million in capital.

“I know wherever he is now, he is more than happy for our farmers and ranchers whose produce continues to be distributed to Guam markets. This is just one of the legacies that Tony will always be remembered by me, by our farmers. He is indeed a great farmer and agriculturist at heart,” he said.

Pellegrino, 82, died of multiple health ailments on June 7 at the Commonwealth Health Center.

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