Members of the Grove Rotary Club recently received words of heartfelt thanks and recognition from the St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic in Nogales, Arizona, for club members’ donations of wheelchairs to needy children and older adults living in northern Mexico.

Grove Rotary held fundraising drives in 2015 and 2016, raising a total of $46,800 to provide more than 300 sturdy wheelchairs in five sizes.

Vicki R. Fitzsimmons, publicity coordinator for the Children’s Clinic, said in a recent statement the generous donations are making a major difference in the lives of the children and their families.

“Without the wheelchairs, these children had little or no mobility,” Fitzsimmons said. “In many cases, children’s mothers carried them everywhere, even up and down hills to reach services.”

Working in collaboration with the Children’s Clinic and the American Wheelchair Mission, Grove Rotary not only raised the necessary funds, but also followed through with distribution.

In June 2016 and May 2017, some Rotarians traveled to Nogales to assemble the chairs and provide them to grateful recipients.

At this year’s wheelchair distribution in May, 11 representatives of Grove Rotary went to Nogales to distribute the chairs at the Arizona clinic and in homes in northern Mexico.

Participants included Judy McHenry, Suzanne Knott, Pauline Hale, Jim Corbridge, Sarah Dyer, Bill Dyer, Sam Grasso, Bob Brogdon, Geneva Brogdon, Don Wasson and Margaret Wasson, all of Grove.

The wheelchairs, each featuring a Grove Rotary decal, were distributed in conjunction with one of the monthly medical clinics held in Nogales.

St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic is a non-profit, non-denominational clinic that provides services to children living in Mexico who cannot get the care or afford the care they need in their home country.

The Clinic is held on the first Thursday of each month, except July. Staff at the Clinic work with Customs and Border Protection to facilitate border crossing by patients and accompanying parents.

Patient load for a typical month is 225-250 children. Several specialized services are provided by volunteer health care staff.

Patients are seen in several departments: audiology, augmentative/alternative communication, dermatology, nutrition, occupational therapy, pediatrics, physical therapy, orthopedics, orthotics, speech and vision. More information about St. Andrew’s Children’s Clinic is available on the Clinic web site:

Grove Rotary’s wheelchair fundraising efforts are organized by the club’s International Committee, which is chaired by Robert Carter.

Other members include: Bob Daggett, Sarah Dyer, Ann Rooney, Pauline Hale, Matt Carnes, Darren Cook, Nina Eads, David Thomas, Bob Plunk, Steve Nutter, Elizabeth West, Bob Corlett, Mike Johnston and Leonard Miller.

The wheelchair project is in partnership with the American Wheelchair Mission, a non-profit organization that organizes the manufacture, shipping and distribution of chairs. The mission’s goal is to provide brand new wheelchairs at no cost to physically disabled children, teens and adults throughout the world who need a chair and cannot afford it.

The organization estimates that more than 100 million people worldwide do not have the means to acquire a wheelchair that would improve their lives immeasurably.

With more than 190 members, Grove Rotary works to help meet the needs of the community and the world, consistent with the club’s motto of “Service Above Self.” Rotary International’s members develop service projects that address critical issues, such as children at risk, disabled persons, health care, poverty and hunger, clean water, polio eradication and literacy.