By CASSIE MITCHELL, Summer Intern
Not often is it shown that small-town community services can move beyond to the international level. But Martin Limbird of Muncie, Ind. and his wife, Mary Catherine, proved to Greencastle Rotary Club Wednesday that Rotarians can and have gone further through Rotary International.
Limbird, who served as a district governor from 2005 to 2006, is also seen as the World Community Service Director. His presentation to the club was based around a service project in Mexico that the Muncie and other central Indiana districts began during his year as governor.
Limbird said he initially wanted to find international Rotary clubs with which to work because he wanted Rotary members to see the differences they could make.
"I believe members involved around the world actually realize the power Rotarians can have," he said.
Limbird finally came into contact with Rotary members in the central Mexico area. Upon asking them what it is they lacked, Limbird said they responded, "Fire service is absent." They needed emergency services.
The project then went underway with Limbird and others searching for soon-to-be retired firetrucks in central Indiana areas, including Crawfordsville. Those trucks were then readied to be donated.
During 2005, 20 members from the Muncie Rotary Club, along with other central Indiana members, took three trips to Mexico to donate a total of nine firetrucks to central Mexico areas. Limbird said the members got to see the donations and the funding in action.
Along with the trucks, gear, equipment and oxygen tanks were also donated to the fire departments.
Limbird's wife then spoke to the club of some of the reactions the locals had to the firetrucks, including BBQs being held, a priest blessing one truck, and a lot of applause and praise.
"The fire trucks help everything," she said.
According to the video the Limbirds showed during the presentation, Rotary members also donated 20 wheelchairs to needy children in the city of Ixtapan de le Sal.
In the video, one little girl gave a heartfelt speech of thanks to members. Limbird gave T.V. interviews in Spanish, and footage also shows that the trucks' keys given to the city mayors. Citizens showed their thanks through applause.
Limbird summed up the project by saying, "We're taking something that's valuable in Indiana and continuing that value." He said the fire trucks are serving and saving lives in those rural Mexican cities.
The Limbirds informed the Greencastle Rotary members that requests are still coming in for firetrucks, as well as ambulances. Limbird said two fire trucks and two ambulances are already ready to go.
Greencastle members were strongly urged to participate with what Limbird called "phase three".
"We're counting on your help," he said.
He said the trip should happen sometime in February.