An Edmonton couple who sent four ambulances and a fire truck off to help third-world Belize communities has just heard back about how busy two of the vehicles have been.
NICK LEES, EDMONTON JOURNAL Updated: October 27, 2019

An Edmonton couple who sent four ambulances and a fire truck off to help third-world Belize communities has just heard back about how busy two of the vehicles have been.

“Two babies were born in one of the two ambulances we know went into service this month,” said realtor Sandra Bayrock, who organized the shipment of ambulances with chiropractor husband Dr. Roman Bayrock and fellow Edmonton’s Riverview Rotary Club members.

“Successful CPR was also carried out during the ambulance’s first 17 calls while patients were being taken to hospital in the southern community of Dangriga.”

A message from the Belize Southern Emergency Services last week said a second ambulance had a premature set of twins successfully delivered on board and had transferred critical-care patients from the south of the country to Belize City.

“This is heart-warming news for us and all those who have helped us,” says chiropractor Bayrock.

“The ambulances had been decommissioned by Alberta Health Services and Alberta Honda totally refurbished them before I drove them to Grand Falls, Mont., with three friends, fellow Rotarians Vic Rudkowski and Markus Muhs and a friend of mine, Allan Gorichuk.”

Dr. Bayrock arranged for the National Guard in Great Falls to deliver the ambulances to Belize City on a training run in a C-5 Galaxy plane, the largest aircraft in the U.S. Air Force.

The doctor also heard the Calgary Fire Department was having trouble getting a fire truck full of equipment to Corozal, a Belize community with meagre emergency services, and offered to fly it with the ambulances.

Helping in Belize in northeast central America is all in a day’s work for the Bayrocks.

Last year, after hearing from a Uganda parliamentarian speaking at a Rotary meeting here that a village was taking its drinking from a ditch — also used by animals — and people were dying, the Bayrocks acted.

“Friends of ours who attend Freedom Church in Edmonton wanted to help, but had maxed out their funds at $4,200,” says the chiropractor. “Half as much was needed. We arranged to double the funds by applying for a Rotary district matching grant.

“We then partnered with a Ugandan Rotary club and their members went to work. The community now has clean, safe drinking water.”

The chiropractor’s drive to help others was doubled four years ago when he met Sandra.

“On our first date, we both immediately knew we had met the right person,” says the chiropractor. “We had the same values and shared a need for adventure.

“We both love helping people and went to Belize together on a project after knowing each other for two weeks.”

The chiropractor was coming home from Belize in 2001 when he spotted a brochure at the airport and went on to organize a sewing project at an orphanage there and then later motivated a church group to sew linens for a seniors’ home next door.

But it was about 10 years ago when he was a guest at a Rotary club meeting and admired the work of members that the chiropractor became hooked on helping others.

“People are naturally good-hearted, but most are so busy they are reluctant to organize a project,” says Roman. “Sandra is a gifted organizer. When not working as a realtor or working with me, she still drives a concrete truck. Her family was in the business.”

I invited Roman to send me a list of projects he and Sandra have worked on and I received a three-page, single-spaced list. Items included helping inner-city schools and seniors.

Some other highlights from the list:

When they spotted a store was selling soccer balls for $5 each, the couple had a friendly competition which resulted in the joint purchase of 860 soccer balls.

“It took a team of 16 all night to deflate them,” says Sandra. “The balls went to Belize; Ukraine; South Africa, Mexico, Honduras, Cuba and Uganda.”

On one of several ambulance delivery journeys, the couple joined the Rotary Club of Grande Prairie-Swan City on a Highway to Mexico trip, which sees ambulances and fire trucks taken to poor communities. Roman sourced 45 wheelchairs the 10-vehicle convoy carried.

The Bayrocks have built six school playgrounds in Belize and plan several more in 2020. Sandra is the Rotary district playground committee co-chair. “Play is serious business,” she says.

In 2017, the couple organized a fundraiser to send a container of building supplies to Dominica in the Caribbean after a hurricane had destroyed homes, buildings and forests.

In January, Dr. Bayrock heads to Guatemala with Edmonton optometrist friend and Rotarian Dr. Ben Doz. The optometrist will perform eye care and the chiropractor will offer free chiropractic treatment.

Dr. Doz sourced two expensive cataract surgery units and Dr. Bayrock was able to transport them in the ambulances.

“Our long-term goal is to spend summers in Alberta and winter in Belize,” says the chiropractor.

“We will have a sailboat and offer vacations for people who would help on a humanitarian project for a few days and then sail with us or perhaps explore the country’s many incredible natural attractions.”

Sandra has already purchased the domain