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Chicopee Group Aiding Village


Chicopee Group Aiding Village 
Union News - Chicopee Plus By Carol Murphy, staff writer 


CHICOPEE - Just two years after raising money to purchase a four-wheel drive ambulance for a tiny remote village in Honduras, a group of Chicopee Rotary members is going back to the village to determine what more can be done to help.


Five Rotarians will leave today to fly to the country’s capital, Tegucigalpa, then make a five-hour trip by pickup truck to Guayape, a village of about 15,000 people. Rotary President Gail A. Seklecki, who is also president of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce, said the visit is being made in conjunction with Rotary International.


In 1999, Joseph Peters, chairman for international service for the Chicopee Rotary and president of Universal Plastics, made the first trip to Guayape to tour the village, then devastated by Hurricane Mitch. He returned and started a local campaign to help raise money to buy the village an ambulance. Peters will return this year as part of the group. Others, all of whom will pay their own way, are Jack Deroches, president of Strawberry Productions Inc. and his son Nick, 17; Peters’ son, Joey, also 17; Carol Campbell, president of Chicopee Industrial Contractors Inc.; Irene Roy of Don Roy’s Auto Body, and whose husband is president-elect of the Rotary. The group will stay until Sunday.


Peters said the needs of the village are many, but the residents have asked the club to help in three areas: Construction of a one-room medical clinic, building a bridge to span a stream; and an aqueduct project to bring clean water into the village. He estimates that total costs for the projects could run $20,000. Peters said he’d like to see the Rotary take on all three projects. “If we can write a grant that encompasses all three projects and they’re workable, than I’d say we’ll be able to do something like this,” he said. People are so friendly, so warm,” said Peters who spent much time with villagers on his first trip. “They’d give you the shirt off their back and they’ve got nothing,” Peters said. “But the message here is to help,” he said. “We’re hoping to do what we can to make their lives easier, and it’ll be a good experience for us to see just how much we have and take for granted.






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