Mammoth’s Police Chief, School Superintendent and close to 40 other members of the Mammoth Lakes Noon and Sunrise Rotary Clubs, families and friends had what Police Chief Dan Watson described as a life changing experience. They built a house in one day for a family in Mexico.
Chief Watson said this was the fifth house-building trip for him. His wife, Kathryn and School Superintendent Rich Boccia had also enjoyed earlier house buildings. On this month’s project, Boccia brought along a half dozen Interact students from Mammoth High School. Chief Watson said, “This was a great opportunity for teenagers to learn how much of the rest of the world lives and that the people of Mexico are far more like us than they believe.”
It was Saturday, May 19, that the Mammoth Rotary members and others went to work in Sierra Azul, a small Mexican village south of Tecate, to build a house in one day. The clubs worked through Corazon, a Southern California non-profit organization that provides services to people in northern Baja.
Rotarians said it takes $7,800 for materials and 30 to 50 volunteers to build a house. Mammoth’s Rotary clubs raised the funds, including a “nice donation from MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory” and provided the volunteers, ages 14 to over 70.
The group met the De la Rocha-Lora family who had donated hundreds of volunteer hours in their community to get on a list for a new home. Construction started at 8am and wrapped up by 3:30pm. Rotarians said homes built by Corazon volunteers are “humble by US standards.” They have no plumbing or electricity, but amount to a big step up for the families.
Tears flowed during a ceremony in which the keys to the new house were turned over to the family and all exchanged good-byes. Linda Wright, President of the Mammoth Lakes Noon Rotary Club was quoted as saying, “The motto of Rotary is ‘Service Above Self,’ and we came back tired, but filled with a true sense of community. Not only did we provide a new home to a family, we all captured the spirit of giving and returned with a stronger sense of fellowship among ourselves. This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
More information about Corazon can be found at their website, Corazon.org.