Year III, Edition No. 14
January/February , 1999
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
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
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
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
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
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.