Inspired by a presentation to the Orangevale Rotary Club 2 years ago by Chris Nelson on the Flying Samaritans’ medical clinic in San Quintin, I invited Chris to talk to our high school Interact Club about how the students could contribute to this amazing program.  As a result the Interact Club has enthusiastically sponsored several school and Rotary backpack donation drives in the past 2 years.  Chris arrived to pick up bags and bags of precious donations to fill the simple cloth backpacks given to children and mothers at the clinic each month. The newsletter photos confirmed the excitement and joy our donations have brought to the farm worker families. Last year the Interact Club also donated $250 to the Flying Sams!
 
 
Interact co-President, Mark McKibbin, was the first from our club to personally experience the Flying Samaritan program.  Flying with Chris Nelson to the April clinic, Mark was very happy to present a check for $2400 raised by his high school melodrama fundraiser/senior project.  Mark returned with so many positive, inspiring stories about volunteering at the clinic, interacting with the families, and meeting the wonderful clinic volunteers and medical staff. 
 
Rashelle Rew, Interact co-President, and I were thrilled to finally travel to San Quintin in August to volunteer at the clinic and personally experience how good it feels to help, to make a difference in the lives of the farmworker families. Rashelle and I were so warmly welcomed by the Flying Sams team and soon felt like members of the family! 
We witnessed the excitement of the children receiving backpacks filled with treasures! Our Interact Club’s first project in September will be another backpack drive. October’s backpacks should be filled with Interact Club donations!  Nurse Diane recruited and trained us to work at the Intake Station recording weight, blood pressure and temperatures before the patients were examined by Pam and Mariana.  Dear Martina assisted as our interpreter and her 2 children certainly charmed us! I understand that 66 patients were examined on Saturday, and 44 pairs of glasses and 24 “readers” were dispensed by John and his team.  Amazing!
 
I was especially moved to learn of the $9000 worth of school scholarships that were awarded to 24 junior high and 18 high school students on Saturday! As a former high school teacher and Rotary Scholarship Chair, I so appreciate the positive impact the Flying Sams are also making in the education and future of the farm worker children of San Quintin. Yes, the monthly clinic is certainly providing hope as well as medical care to these families who have so little.
 
 I remember a statement Chris Nelson made as we flew home from the August clinic. “Volunteering with the Flying Samaritans is contagious!” I soon understood what Chris meant! A few days after returning from San Quintin and sharing my stories with family and friends, I signed up my husband and myself for the October clinic. I encouraged our Interact President, Julia Carey, and her father Mark to join us! The October team of 21 volunteers was flown to San Quintin in 5 different private planes on October 7.  Julia and I were assigned the Intake Station and Dave and Mark volunteered where needed throughout the day in support of four doctors, 4 nurses, and 5 interpreters. Over 80 exams were completed.
 
A highlight of the day was giving out over 120 new and used baseball caps collected by Orangevale Rotary! Young and old, the farmworker families were thrilled with their new caps as well as the backpacks filled with treasures donated by Orangevale Rotary and the Casa Roble Interact Club! Knowing that the Flying Samaritans are always in need of funding, Orangevale Rotary will be soon presenting Chris Nelson with a check for $500 and Casa Roble’s Interact Club will be donating $250! Before leaving San Quintin on October 9 to fly home, I said to my new family of Flying Sams, “Hasta la vista!”  “See you later!” Yes, I will be returning to volunteer at the clinic in a few months, for it IS contagious!!