June 18th, 2024

Rotarians back on the road to Mexico for Los Amigos


By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on April 26, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Local Rotarians waved good-bye on Sunday morning at Canadian Tire south as they embarked on a 4,000-kilometre journey to Mazatlan, Mexico as part of the 2022 Los Amigos Project, where seven emergency and transit vehicles will be dropped off.

The Los Amigos Project departed the Canadian Tire south parking lot early Sunday morning for Mazatlan, Mexico.
The project has been running since 2011 when members of the Lethbridge Sunrise Rotary Club wintered down in Mexico and noted there was a need for many things for the people.
“So they came home and (thought) what can we do?” said Doug Thornton, project coordinator. “And they went to the City of Lethbridge. The City of Lethbridge had three school buses and they said, ‘Here, take them.’ We raised the money for the fuel and the hotels and return airfare and put them down in 2011; that was the first trip.”
Fast forward to the 2022 trip, which will be the 10th and the first since 2019, where 15 Rotarians will be delivering two fire trucks from Whitecourt and Brooks, two ambulances from Olds and Lethbridge, two school buses from Lethbridge and a handibus from Olds.
“Making no mistake, we’re not taking an ambulance away from people needing it here. It’s already got enough kilometres and use on it, that it can no longer be used in our current system. And so now we take it down and they will give it a second life in Mexico,” said Thornton.
“The Mexican people really appreciate receiving these things and it kind of closes the circle for them,” he said.
The Rotarians will spend the last week of their trip in festivals where the units will be turned over to the Mexicans.
Since the project’s inception, 53 units have been delivered to Mexico and all but one are still operational in the country.
“They really look after them,” said Thornton.
This trip will bring the total units to 60.
The Rotarians will conclude the 4,000- kilometre trek to Mazatlan on April 30 and on May 2 will begin turning the units over.
The Rotary Clubs have to raise funds every year on top of a significant donation from the Rotary Foundation, and find vehicles from municipalities to donate.

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