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ARTICLES

  
La Nueva Cronica
  

Year III, Edition No. 14

January/February , 1999

(Front Page)

LOVING AND KIND HELP FOR NICARAGUA

On December 29, 1998 Rosario Saavedra-Roman and Janet Ray Weininger, two Miami activists received a check in the amount of $25,125 as donation for medicines to provide relief to hurricane victims in Central America. The ceremony was held in the Rotunda of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Louisville, Kentucky. The fund is the product of a community-wide grass roots effort of the people of Louisville, spearheaded by businessmen and philanthropists. The cash award will meet the needs of 12,000 people for one year. The two humanitarians were also conferred proclamations recognizing them as "Honorary Citizens of Jefferson County".

Rosario Saavedra-Roman had been visiting friends in Louisville during the Thanksgiving holiday an she had shared with them her concern for the needs of Nicaraguans who had been affected by Hurricane Mitch. Her friends told her of the relief campaign that had taken place in Louisville and which had resulted in tons of aid sent to Honduras.

Upon learning that no assistance had gone to Nicaragua, philanthropist Dennis Dolan became interested in Nicaragua, and submitted a motion to his Greater Louisville Hurricane Relief Project committee to include assistance to Nicaragua. The motion to help Nicaragua was accepted.

Rosario had recently met Janet Ray Weininger, President of "Wings of Valor", a not-for-profit humanitarian organization that has been providing continuous assistance to the people in the remote village of San Jose de Bocay in the northern mountains of Nicaragua before and after the hurricane.

Weininger had visited the northern mountains of Nicaragua in a five-year mission to recover the remains of two pilots who died in the service of the United States during the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961. The US government joined her in the recovery mission in the spring of 1998. When it was time to leave the B-26 crash site located in the remote village of San Jose de Bocay. Weininger’s hear was broken by grief. She had no valor left. It was time to say good-bye to those forgotten people who had been so very good to her. "Siete Mares", her friend and former commander of the resistance had told her, "all your valor is within your heart, but now it is time to take the pilots back to their families". When she boarded the Blackhawk helicopter, "Siete Mares" last words were: "We know you will come back to us because we need you." In fact, she returned to Nicaragua after Hurricane Mitch with the first plane load of independently collected humanitarian aid. Delta Airlines cooperated with her by providing an airplane and giving her the wings to transport her cargo.

Rosario’s and Janet’s mutual interest in the needy Nicaraguan people afflicted by a natural disaster, and the fact that both are the daughters of military pilots whose paths had crossed during the Bay of Pigs invasion, led to a strong bond. They identified with each other and have embarked in a mission to get this much-needed relief provided by the good heart of the citizens of Louisville, Kentucky to those in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. It was destiny that brought them together. Rosario, and educational administrator at Miami-Dade Community College and active in several Miami community organizations had heard Janet speak about loading mules with medicines on Thanksgiving Day in order to save lives. She was touched by Weininger’s courage, commitment, and resolute spirit, and shared the story with friends in Kentucky. Rosario has vowed to return to her native country for the first time in twenty years. She and Janet are undoubtedly two courageous women who love their fellow men and have joined hands to bring relief which benefits the most needy in Nicaragua.

COMMUNITY-WIDE EFFORT RAISES MONEY AND TONS OF CLOTHING FOR

HURRICANE- RAVAGED CENTRAL AMERICA.

What started when a Louisville man began planning his vacation, ended on December 29, 1998 as the second of two ocean freighters bound for Honduras left Gulfport, Mississippi, loaded with 20,000 pounds of clothing for victims of Hurricane Mitch. At the same time, a check for $25,125 was presented in the rotunda of the Jefferson County Courthouse in Louisville to Janet Ray Weininger, who resides in Miami, an who together with Rosario Roman, a Nicaraguan activist will purchase medical supplies for Nicaraguan victims of the hurricane. An earlier shipment of 20,000 pounds of clothing had left for Honduras on December 22nd.

 

In late October, 1998, Louisville attorney Robert Ewald had began planning his second scuba diving trip to Roatan Island off the coast of Honduras, just as Hurricane Mitch had started to pummel Central America. Due to the hurricane, he got on the internet to check out the weather in Honduras. He came across some recent messages from the owner of one of the island’s hotels who pleaded for help for the people of the island. Ewald discussed the on-line outcry with fellow Rotarian Dennis Doland.

"When Bob told me about what he’d read on the internet and how he wanted to gather clothing and supplies to take to Roatan Island. I knew immediately I wanted to help", said Dolan. I thought that even if we could only gather a few things, it might make a big difference to some people who had lost absolutely everything."

In short order, Dolan recruited Goodwill Industries of Kentucky to serve as a repository for donated clothing. Kentuckiana Interfaith Community agreed to accept cash donations designated for hurricane relief. He also contacted Chiquita Brands in Cincinnati which offered its Honduran-bound ocean freighters to ship the clothes from the United States.’’

It required hiring a trucking firm to get the clothes, which were sorted by a group of volunteers, from the central collection site in Louisville to Gulfport. But through the generous contributions of the private and community foundations of the Donors Forum of Metro Louisville, out-of-pocket expenses associated with the effort were covered. Therefore, all cash donations for hurricane relief, totaling $25,125 will be used to purchase medicine for the storm victims in Nicaragua.

In just over seven weeks, the Louisville community-wide grass roots effort far surpassed expectations for collections. It filled with pride all those who participated in the endeavor, and it shows what can happen when the human heart connects with creativity for a worthy cause.

As s stated before, Weininger, well-known in Nicaragua for her humanitarian work in the mountains, with the collaboration of a non-profit USAID-funded health services organization will convert the cash donation into the basic medical supplies sorely needed in a region afflicted with numerous epidemic diseases.

 

Wings of Valor, Inc.
P.O. Box 56-2801
Miami, Florida 33256-2801
Phone: (305) 255-8892 Fax: (305) 232-9933

© Copyright 1999 - 2003 Wings of Valor