Pierce County Crime Stoppers continues to help Mexican town

Friends and volunteers from a variety of groups including Crime Stoppers of Tacoma Pierce County are continuing to help the Mexican village of Ayutla months after the 3,000-mile caravan of donated emergency vehicles. Known as the “Mission to Mexico,” volunteers from Pierce County overcame mechanical breakdowns and difficult weather conditions to deliver four emergency vehicles and a van last fall.
A 23-minute documentary about the mission is now showing on Comcast Channel 76 during “The Sheriff’s Report” and is also available through Comcast’s On Demand service.
“Anyone who saw the incredible gratitude of the people of Ayutla has wanted to stay involved and do even more for them,” said Ed Hauge, president of Crime Stoppers of Tacoma Pierce County and Comcast’s Pierce County community programming manager. Hauge was a caravan volunteer.
The trip began after Jose Lopez, an employee of El Pueblito Restaurant in Gig Harbor, came upon a horrific traffic accident while vacationing in his hometown of Ayutla. Because the town had only one ambulance, six people died in the accident. Determined to help his hometown, Jose related the accident story to friends in Pierce County. With the help of friends and volunteers, he managed to acquire a medic unit and several police cars, which were refurbished.
Crime Stoppers volunteers have a number of projects ongoing:
— Volunteers partnered with Annie Wright School to collect school supplies;
— Fire departments throughout Washington are contributing surplus items to equip Ayutla with emergency medical and fire equipment;
— Firefighters are training people in Ayutla in emergency medicine and firefighting;
— Others will be traveling later this year to help create a school computer lab.
A Crime Stoppers fund-raiser will be held this summer to help raise money for the construction of the computer lab, which includes rewiring a classroom and installing thermal insulated windows and air conditioning. “We plan to help for as long as they want our help,” Lopez said.