Bob Slayback, president of the Lodi Rotary Club, helps prepare wheelchairs for distribution in Mazatlan.
Every year for the past 11 years, the Rotary Club of Foster City has been going to Mazatlan, Mexico to help the less fortunate. The original project was distributing wheelchairs to those without mobility and without the means to obtain it on their own. Since its inception, the project has grown to include building schools and playgrounds.
In October of this year, nearly 70 Rotarians and local Interact Club students, who were led by Linda and Jon Grant, set off to continue the mission of helping those in need. With them was President of the Lodi Rotary Club, Bob Slayback, who accompanied the group to help plan future trips for his fellow club members. Dr. Grant combines contributions received from District Coordinators, such as those forwarded by Tom Harmon of District 5810, and then applies for matching grants from The Rotary Foundation.
Wheelchairs were delivered in person to recipients who were unable to leave their homes, and those who were able to drive or get rides into town received their wheelchair in front of hundreds of family, friends and Rotarians. In total, over 500 wheelchairs were given to individuals, young and old, who had never experienced mobility.
Rick Pietrykowski, of the Rockwall Breakfast Rotary Club, described his experience, saying, “As delightful as it was to see hundreds of smiling children’s faces, it tugged at our hearts to see the tears of many flavors on the faces of the wheelchair recipients: tears of joy mixed with tears of pain during the physical act of moving a torn body into the wheelchair, tears of gratitude intermixed with tears of regret for being in need of the gift, and tears of excitement for their new-found freedom, washing over the tears of being at a disadvantage in a disadvantaged land.”