The efforts of a local Rotarian have created a major aide package for a needy community in Mexico.
Craig Rotary Club member Bill Muldoon recently traveled more than 3,000 miles to organize and collect items for the Mexican city of San Miguel de Allende. A truckload that will include a dental X-ray machine, four hospital gurneys and clothes will soon be leaving for the Mexican city.
San Miguel de Allende is "a town that has lots of needs," Craig Rotary Club President Marilynn Bouldin said.
"It was wonderful of Bill to take this on, to be proactive and get all this anchored together," she said. "It was an extraordinary effort to drive to collect the supplies and then deliver them to Illinois. He exemplified a dedicated Rotarian."
The project begins
Muldoon's trip began April 28 and sent him from Craig to Jackson Hole, Wyo., then to Elgin, Illinois and back to Craig to collect and deliver the donated supplies that Muldoon had helped raise within Rotary District 5440. The district covers parts of Colorado, Nebraska, Idaho and all of Wyoming, and the journey covered a total of 3,109 miles. The dental equipment, gurneys and clothes are now waiting with other donated items to be delivered to Elgin to fill up the trailer that will be driven to San Miguel de Allende.
The dental X-ray machine was donated by a dentist in Jackson Hole, the gurneys were donated by The Memorial Hospital and the clothes which were Gap clothes used for display projects were collected by the Jackson Hole Breakfast Rotary Club.
Muldoon is the assistant governor of Rotary District 5440.
This is the second major aide effort to San Miguel de Allende he has been involved in after he and his wife, Nancy, visited the community two years ago, meeting the nine-member Rotarian club there and seeing first hand the many needs of the city.
"They have a ton of things they need down there," Muldoon said. "This particular project started when the past district governor, Dave Hergert, called and asked if we could use a panographic X-ray machine, which is dental X-ray equipment from Jackson Hole. I said 'yes,' and talked to the Rotarians in San Miguel about what else they could use. Things just kept adding up more and more. I ended up completely filling up my 4-Runner and trailer."
On the road
After the Muldoon's first visit, Nancy Muldoon organized a fund drive that raised $500 locally and $6,400 total from Rotary District 5440 and the Rotary Foundation to build a modern kitchen for the orphanage of San Miguel de Allende. The project was coordinated with the San Miguel Rotarians and laid the foundation for the most recent project.
The kitchen should be finished shortly, Muldoon said.
Even though the trip was a beneficial one, it was not without its challenges. While driving to collect and deliver the supplies, Muldoon struck a deer, almost hit another one, hit a Canadian goose and had a tire blown out by a rock slide.
"Before I even got to Fortification, I hit a deer with my 4-Runner that was loaded down and hauling the trailer which is lucky for the deer because when I first saw it and let off the gas, the truck immediately started to slow down," Muldoon said. "I bumped the deer, but I saw it get up and bound away. It didn't seem hurt.
"After that I impaled a greater Canada goose on my ski rack, and then almost hit a second deer just outside of Jackson Hole again, I let off the gas and the acceleration just died and this one avoided getting hit. But later that night I got caught in a rock slide. I hit a rock that was bigger than a basketball, but nothing seemed to happen at first. I thought everything was all right. I ended up changing my tire on I-80 in the pitch dark the rock had completely torn up the sidewall. It was just one thing after another."
Revamping the plan
The original plan had been to truck the X-ray machine, gurney and clothes to Laredo, Texas, and then transfer the supplies through customs. Muldoon said that as the amount of material piled up, two issues became apparent: The transfer through customs would be complex, and more supplies could be found for the needs of San Miguel de Allende. So the project began working with Rotarians in Elgin that organize trucking and shipping services for Rotary International projects. The supplies Muldoon collected were delivered to Elgin to be packed into a trailer, and the whole project will be delivered by the end of July at the latest.
"San Miguel de Allende has many priorities," Muldoon said. "They need ambulances, fire trucks, medical and dental equipment, hospital equipment, educational materials and clothing.
"We're going to fill as many need as possible and then ship a full trailer of supplies to San Miguel."
This and similar projects are what makes the Rotary Club an international organization, Bouldin said.
"This was a special opportunity that Bill took advantage of," she said. "Rotary International is truly an international club that focuses on community service. We're always looking for these kinds of opportunities and Bill really made the most of this one."
Rotary International has a global network of 1.2 million members in more than 29,000 clubs in 160 countries.
"Usually, a project that is this involved takes a long time to get organized and costs a lot of money," Muldoon said. "In this case, it started with a phone call and everything was found, collected, organized and delivered in under 30 days. Everyone volunteered their time, and (Rotary) members made things happen with money from their own pockets. We had a lot of Rotary clubs working together."