Healthy Paradise
A local women’s group, Las Mariposas Sociales, has raised money to fund a defibrillator for Red Cross. One of the very generous group members secured the equipment at a substantial discount. One of her comments really stuck with me. She said the health of the community is directly related to the health of the local Red Cross. Many of you may not know that in Mexico, in a medical emergency, Red Cross is the first responder.  If needed, they call in the Fire Department and sometimes the private clinics. The other thing you may not know, is they are staffed primarily by volunteers and operate only insofar as donations permit.

Administrator Reyes, Margaret, Kory and Sandy from Las Mariposas Sociales and President Valdés

Puerto Peñasco Cruz Roja
While presenting the new equipment, three of us from the women’s group were able to have a tour of the local facility and get more information about this group that is so important to the health of our community.
We met with the Cruz Roja President, Jorge Valdés (a volunteer 2 year position) and Administrator Faustino Reyes, the only paid administrative position. They informed us that they are staffed by between 45-50 volunteers who receive no compensation. They also have 4 emergency medical technicians who receive some compensation (not enough to call it a salary). There is also a volunteer doctor at the facility from 9:00am to 2:00pm, Monday through Saturday.  Should you run out of your prescription medication, with evidence of your prior prescription, you can get a new prescription written to be filled at a local pharmacy, for a nominal fee, or they may even be able to provide it, or an emergency dose.  Please bear in mind, this is only for some medications.  They also provide first aid services on site and the eye check and health document that you need to apply for your Mexican Driver’s License. (A personal aside, a friend of mine fell and cut her face.  After receiving her stitches at Cruz Roja, her friends drove her back to Scottsdale and she went to a plastic surgeon who assured her they had done a great job and she would have minimal scarring.)

All volunteers receive training in first aid and emergency response.  Most often this training is supplied by the State level of Cruz Roja. Some volunteers travel to other cities to receive this training and return to teach the others in Puerto Peñasco.  In fact several volunteers had just returned from receiving training on the defibrillator equipment and were training others.  Volunteers visit the schools to interest young people in volunteering for Cruz Roja.

Another successful group of trainees

As I said in the beginning of this article, Cruz Roja exists only through donations.  So when you see their collection points on the streets of Peñasco, please be as generous as you can.  You never know when you or someone you know might need their services. Their largest fund raiser is the national campaign during the spring.  As you can imagine given the current economic condition, donations have been down. This year they were able to collect approximately $29,000 (less than half of what is required to continue current service levels). The Board of Directors also conducts periodic fund raisers such as concerts and raffles.
The City of Peñasco donates to Cruz Roja. They pay the electric bill for the facility and contribute to the vehicle fuel and compensation for the emergency medical technicians. There is also a special fund for equipment administered by the Sonoran Cruz Roja.  When local citizens renew their vehicle registration each year they may make a donation of 60 pesos.  30% of these funds are used to fund Cruz Roja operations in small towns that do not have a large number of vehicles and 70% is used to buy equipment in the town where the money was donated.  In 2010, Puerto Peñasco Cruz Roja was able to purchase an ambulance valued at $22,000 with these funds.
Cruz Roja also accepts donations of cash, equipment, medication (prescription and over the counter) and supplies at their facility located on Blvd. Fremont, #140 which is 3 blocks east of Benito Juarez on the north side of the street.

Puerto Peñasco Cruz Roja facility

To give you some idea of the magnitude of the work done by our local Cruz Roja, Jorge Valdés told me that they perform over 5,000 services a year.  Approximately half are emergency ambulance responses and half are first aid services performed at their facility. They also support the home for the elderly, Casa Hogar, by providing medical services, nutritional supplements. They visit with the home’s residents.  They talk with them, do some limited exercise and play games such as dominoes. They do all of this on an annual budget of about $65,000.00, truly an amazing fete.

Activities at Casa Hogar

Current Project and Needs
With donations from two Arizona Rotary Clubs, the area for treating emergencies is being remodeled and refurnished.  They need funds to complete this project for maximum utilization.

Some on-going supply needs are:  Surgical gloves, first aid supplies, wraps and braces, crutches.  They are also in need of a respirator.

Do what you can to support Cruz Roja and make Puerto Peñasco a healthier paradise.