“Hundreds of Wheelchairs Donated in Central America,” Ensign, Jan. 2002, 76
In October the Church, in cooperation with philanthropist and Wheelchair Foundation founder Kenneth Behring, donated 1,500 wheelchairs to those in need in El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua.
El Salvador’s first lady, Lourdes Maria Rodriquez; Honduran president Carlos Roberto Flores and first lady Mary Flake de Flores; and then Nicaraguan president Arnoldo Alemán and first lady Maria Fernanda Flores de Alemán attended ceremonies announcing the donations in their countries. Local Church leaders and Humanitarian Service representatives also attended.
A small number of wheelchairs were presented during each ceremony. In Nicaragua a girl stepped forward to place in a wheelchair her younger brother, whom she had carried around throughout his entire life. In El Salvador a young man spoke of how his new wheelchair will allow him to go back to school. In Honduras a Catholic nun who has served others for nearly 50 years told how a wheelchair will allow her to continue to serve.
In addition to thanking the Church for the wheelchairs, the first lady of El Salvador also recognized the Church for its prompt and efficient assistance following earthquakes in her country earlier this year. The first lady of Nicaragua thanked the Church for its help during a recent drought in her nation. The president of Honduras stated that the Church has “always been there for Honduras. Now, they are partnering with Mr. Behring to bless the lives of many people that have not had the privilege of being mobile. This donation will help people to be more self-reliant.”