And Now, The Next Triumph, Saving Lives Along The Northern Mexican Highways
— by Rotarian Dorothea Watkins, President and CEO, Wings of Angels Foundation
The Logan, Utah Rotarians know the critical problems of Mexico because their Rotaract, Interact and Rotary Clubs make every effort (including a nineteen-hour drive) to help remedy what they know to be a country in extremis. For all of this decade, Utah Rotary teams have arrived in Agua Prieta, Sonora, to bring the poorest out of their tragedy be it a burned-out house, a shelter for the family of a hard working crippled dad, a safe and decent home for a man without legs, or materials to support the Wings of Angels Foundation’s monthly Crisis Intervention Clinic which gives medical treatment to the Mexican more-than-poor. The remarkable skill of the college and high school girl Rotarians who can put up a home over a long weekend, who are able to mix mortar and lay straight lines of adobe brick, assemble and nail down tin roofs, efficiently and joyfully accomplished, is exemplary.
Wings of Angels brought a new opportunity to Logan’s dynamic Rotarians, found a way to save lives along the vicious northern Mexican highway, one lane, dangerously narrow and claiming victims every day. The ultimate highway horror of three teen girls dying in November, 2007, because they did not have EMT service, was the final straw!
Time to examine the problem and render the solution! Cruz Roja, the Mexican city ambulance service in Agua Prieta, had three vans (300,000 miles on each) and no medically trained staff. Douglas, Arizona Fire Captain Manny Ayala, just a few blocks away in the US, proposed 42 night classes beginning April, 2008 in Agua Prieta, for Cruz Roja teams, and promised, upon completion, certification as EMT skilled medicos.
During these months of preparation, the impossible dream came true! The town of Hyrum, Utah, agreed to donate a used but pristine condition fully-equipped ambulance to the Agua Prieta, Cruz Roja. Rotarians David Simmons and Jeff Larsen volunteered to drive the vehicle to Douglas.
Graduation was accomplished September 12, 2008 as sixteen finely-skilled EMT candidates were confirmed. The evening was triumphant. The grads could barely contain themselves, standing and cheering each time Manny Ayala’s name was mentioned during the ceremony. Tami Pyfer, Rotarian and City Councilwoman of Logan attended. She brought the Logan Fire Chief and a fireman to the celebration (The following day the two toured the bombero stations in Agua Prieta and made lasting friends with that group whose needs are great). The ambulance was presented. So many valuable materials were offered in the ambulance that there is enough to furnish materials for a second ambulance when that becomes a possibility.
One wag offered “Can you imagine creating a solution like this IN MEXICO in only ten months, less than a year? Amazing!”