Manny Ayala Photo by Nick Sokoloff
Manny Ayala is a new Rotarian, but he has relied since 2008 on Rotary clubs in Mexico, Arizona, and Utah to support the free EMT classes he provides in his hometown of Agua Prieta, Mexico.
A captain in the Douglas Fire Department in Arizona, Ayala worked with the Wings of Angels Foundation to organize the classes after two girls from Agua Prieta died en route to the hospital after a car accident. At that time, there were no certified emergency medical technicians in Mexico outside Mexico City.
Ayala graduated 28 new EMTs in his first class, and last June, he trained 69 EMTs, nurses, and rescue workers from northern Sonora in cardiac emergency care.
A growing list of Rotary clubs provide lunches and equipment and publicize the training, including the Rotary Club of Logan, Utah, which has refurbished and donated three used ambulances. Ayala, a certified EMT and registered paramedic in the United States, worked for the American Red Cross and teaches emergency services at Cochise College. He recently expanded the Agua Prieta EMT training to cover accidents involving hazardous materials. “I began by doing this on my own, but with help from the Rotary clubs, now we can look further down the road,” he says.