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RV Park Owner Lends a Hand on Mission Trip

February 16, 2011 by   - () Leave a Comment

For 32 years, Ed Welliver has owned and operated Oleander Acres RV Park and built it into a thriving destination for “Winter Texans” and other visitors to the Rio Grande Valley.

And near retirement age, Welliver has been thinking more and more about passing the baton of park management to someone else.

But after volunteering on a Rotary mission to improve sanitation and hygiene in Choluteca, Honduras, last month, Welliver has found a new passion that will surely keep him busy whenever he decides to retire: Helping less fortunate people overseas.

“Our trip to Honduras was a very eye-opening experience for me,” Welliver said stated in a news release. “I can certainly see myself doing more of this kind of thing.”

Indeed, while he speaks some Spanish, Welliver had never traveled on a foreign mission trip before or spent an extended period of time interacting with some of the poorest people in the Western Hemisphere.

The Jan. 15-23 mission, organized by Arthur W. Zeitler of the Rotary Club of Corpus Christi, was the latest in a series of Rotary mission trips to Choluteca, where volunteers have been working in partnership with other groups to improve local residents’ water quality, sanitation and hygiene.

Volunteers from Rotary Clubs in Mission, Harlingen, Laredo and Kingsville, Texas, as well as Anchorage, Alaska, joined eight Corpus Christi Rotary Club volunteers on the mission. Working together, they assembled over a dozen outdoor latrines in an area where Choluteca Province residents do not have plumbing in their homes. The project also included delivery and installation of bio sand water filters.

The U.S.-based volunteers also met with project trainers who are instructing local residents on various ways to improve their personal hygiene and sanitation. The volunteers attended one of these sessions.

Zeitler said sanitation and hygiene education is a critical component of Rotary’s efforts because unless local residents know how to keep themselves and their water supplies clean, they will continue to contaminate their water supplies and suffer from various water-borne illnesses.

Welliver said he was impressed by the impact the volunteers made on the people of Choluteca. “The people there were very grateful for what we did,” he said. One of the villages provided a thank you “fiesta” for the volunteers at the end of the work week and the Rotarians also attended a dinner meeting with their co-sponsor, the Rotary Club of Choluteca.

For more information about upcoming Rotary missions to improve sanitation and hygiene in Honduras, please contact Arthur Zeitler at (361) 882-8086 or e-mail him at awzeitler@sbcglobal.net.

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