At their Sept. 9 meeting, town council voted unanimously to donate the two decommisioned ambulances to the project, which will see both donated to municipalities in need in Mexico.
“The only thing I can say as far as the end point for the ambulances is they are incredibly well used in Mexico, and there’s a tremendous need down there. They really do save lives,” said Jim Campbell, Los Amigos Project coordinator with the Rotary Club Of Lethbridge Sunrise.
The project is a joint venture led by the Rotary Club of Lethbridge Sunrise and supported by all Lethbridge Rotary clubs as well as clubs in Coaldale, Fort Macleod, Medicine Hat, Pincher Creek, Cardston and Taber. The vehicles will be driven to Mexico and presented to selected communities in need.
“I’m often skeptical of donating to causes that we don’t always know what the end result is,” said Coun. Murray Rochelle. “But I appreciated the presentation that was made by the rotary club, and I feel that we can feel comfortable that there is a trail that can be followed.”
The ambulance units donated by the Town of Taber include a 2000 Ford E350 (234,300 kms) with an estimated auction value of $1,000-$2,000, and a 2004 Ford E350 (175,100 kms), with an estimated auction value of $2,500-$4,000.
“We have three options,” said CAO Greg Birch, prior to the vote. “One is to strip out all of the lights and the things that make it an ambulance and try to sell it at auction to someone who might want a van. The other option would be to go to market and try to sell them as an ambulance. Our understanding is there is not a lot of demand for ambulances of this age in Alberta. The third option is to donate them as is. These are not high-value vehicles. We’re recommending you give them away. We do not see a whole lot of value for us hunting around trying to sell them.”
Coun. Louie Tams questioned the Rotary Club of Lethbridge Sunrise delegation that once the ambulances were put into service in Mexico, if this might represent any liability issues for the Town of Taber.
“That is a real high point to be able to do that, because it leaves the name of the community that provided the support to that community, on the vehicle itself,” answered Campbell. “They would much prefer to have that there, there’s no follow-up liability or anything that’s incumbent with that.”
In May 2012, the Rotary Club of Lethbridge delivered two ambulances and two fire trucks to the communities of Mazamitla, Jocotopec, La Yesca and Ameca Mexico. These vehicles were received by Mexican Rotarians and immediately put into service, and are currently being used to safely transport people to hospitals and prevent fires in a dry section of the state of Jalisco.
“I’m personally very supportive of this in donating these ambulances to this group,” said Coun. Randy Sparks. “I don’t think we as a council need to be too concerned, because these individuals are experts at getting these units, in any kind of repair, from here down to Mexico. I personally appreciate the work that you as a group do, and looking after the needs of emergency services in another country. If we as a council can help you in any way by donating these ambulances, regardless of what state of repair they’re in, I think it is in our best interests to do that, as you are willing to donate you time and money to ensure that these people in this country have a better source of getting themselves to some sort of medical care, and I support you in this 100 per cent.”