Neglected Villagers Benefit From
Sacrifice – Donation will aid Nicaraguans
Saturday, March 17, 2001 in the Miami Herald
wrote letters, made hundreds of calls and knocked on doors.
night before the deadline to collect the money for a humanitarian
relief mission to Nicaragua, Janet Ray Weininger was thousands of
She lay in
bed, trying to concentrate on the Spanish book she was studying.
Somewhere between the conjugation of ir and the explanation
of irregular verb tenses, it hit.
engagement ring,” she thought.
“I could sell it.”
$1,500 she got from the one-carat diamond, plus about $4,500 she
borrowed, will cover most of the distribution costs for 72 pallets
of donations bound for the northern mountains of Nicaragua.
The shipment left the homestead Air Reserve Base at 3 p.m.
Friday aboard Black Jack, a C-5 belonging to the Stewart Air
National Guard in New York.
crew of 13 New Yorkers arrived in Homestead on Friday morning and
later flew the 247-foot plane three hours and five minutes to
Honduras. From there,
the supplies will be shipped to Nicaragua by truck.
is what it’s all about – knowing you’re making a
difference,” said Jeffrey Sheeny, the mission’s crew chief.
is the president of Wings of Valor, an organization founded to
help rebuild lives torn apart by war, poverty and natural
disaster. During the
past year, Wings of Valor collected school supplies, hygiene
products, clothes and more form local businesses, women’s groups
a great humanitarian effort,” said Congresswoman Ileana
Ros-Lehtinen, who joined Weininger at the air reserve base Friday.
“She’s doing what the government is supposed to do, but
hasn’t been able to. Janet’s
filled in those gaps.”
the aid arrives in Honduras, it will travel 14 hours in 14 trucks
before having to trade the vehicles for mules.
The trek from there will take about seven hours.
Wings of Valor, with the help of the Organization of
American States, then will take the donations into remote villages
in the northern mountains of Nicaraguan – an area of harsh
terrain, security risks and land mines.
total cost of distribution, including drivers, the truck rentals
and dozens of mules, is about $7,000.
Of that, $1,000 was paid for by the Early Childhood
Initiative Foundation. The
rest came from personal loans and Weininger’s diamond ring.
does her husband think?
haven’t told him yet,” Weininger said.
self-dubbed gringa, Weininger is the daughter of an American pilot
shot down in down during the Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961.
years, she rallied to recover her father’s body, which had been
put on display by Fidel Castro.
After succeeding, she turned her efforts to bringing home
the two pilots buried in Nicaragua’s Jinotega province.
with the son of one of the dead pilots, Weininger hiked into the
woods of Jinotega and located the crash site near the town of San
José de Bocay.
fell in love with the people, she said, and has since taken up
desolate,” Weininger said.
“When I was there, I realized the local people had lived
and fought a war and now they were forgotten.