Angels are for real, and this September 21-28, twenty four of them will be heading to Mexico with the goal to build a playground for under-privileged children. For local retired fire-fighter, Rande Mergerenn and his 16 year old son Mitchell Marjoram this trip will have extra special meaning.
In 2006, Rande and Mitchell lost their wife and mother to cancer after a long 3 year battle. Karen Marjoram was one of those people who was always very involved in her community and the first to jump in to help out where ever it was needed. Obviously the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree because at 16 years old, her son is already following in her footsteps.
The two men are volunteers with Angels for Mexico, a non-profit foundation that was started in 2007 with an aim to support the efforts of Emergency Services in Mexico. Since it’s inception, over 5 million dollars worth of surplus medical and emergency supplies from Canada and the US have been donated and shipped down to areas where there is a huge lack in resources. The foundation has helped the Mexican people in others ways as well; they have built homes, repaired homes and in recent years they have also built two playgrounds for the children.
“The satisfaction was incredible” says Mergerenn of the last playground the group built in 2011. “For many of these kids, this is like Disneyland.” That emotional ceremony saw over 150 enchanted children who couldn’t wait to scramble all over the new and only playground of its kind within the surrounding area.
This year, the playground being built in Puerto Vallarta will be in memory of Rande’s wife, Karen. Karen always had a love for Mexico and she and her family visited often. Karen’s mother, Enid Maier still spends most of her time there and is the one who picked the spot for the future playground. The family feels this is a wonderful way to honor and remember the woman who would have certainly participated in this type of project had she had the opportunity.
“She was kind and giving, and I know she will be watching us.” says Mergerenn, referring to his late wife.
The playground, which came from a NW Calgary Catholic School, was shipped to Mexico earlier this year. The school was replacing the older playground with new equipment and offered it to the foundation.
Once the volunteer team arrives in Mexico, they will get to work sanding and painting the different components of the park so that it will look brand new again. They will also prepare the site for which they will need up to $5,000 worth of supplies like cement, paint, gravel and sand. These supplies are all purchased in Mexico through funds that the volunteers themselves contributed toward.
Mitchell, the Grade 11 Chestermere High School student designed t-shirts in memory of his mother which the volunteers will wear proudly during their week long mission.
Christena Callaghan, President and Founder of Angels for Mexico is excited and proud to participate in this very special project.
“You can never track the ripple effects (on either side) of this type of thing, and we are not meant to” says Callaghan.
The group will put together a slide show of pictures to present at the school where the playground came from once they return from their trip.
To follow this story or donate to Angels for Mexico, you can visit their website at HYPERLINK “http://www.angelsformexico.com” www.angelsformexico.com . Angels for Mexico is a registered charity with Revenue Canada and tax receipts will be issued for all donations.