John Zawis, Project Mercy construction manager, explains how this fantastic group of people became a core volunteer group in Mexico:
Several of us who supported Habitat for Humanity on a regular basis used to work together, then began to stop at a local bar for a beer before heading home. People at Habitat started referring to us as the “Amigos” and gave us Spanglish nicknames (Ricardo, Marco, Arno, Stuarto y yo, Juan). We would eventually all join forces to work for Project Mercy.
I met Ken and Betsy McIntyre and Paul Trimble through Habitat for Humanity builds. Ken introduced me to IRT (International Relief Teams) and I subsequently introduced Paul (you get the picture). I started going on IRT trips to various places and met Bob and Marty Fowler, and Ken Marsh. When I told them about the Project Mercy program that I had become involved with, they wanted to know more. After I introduced IRT to Project Mercy their interest grew and they began coming down and working with me in Mexico.
This expanded band of “Amigos” is a selfless and generous group of skilled volunteers. They are not only my friends and valued helpers, but have become close friends with our Mexican Team and have a genuine concern for the families we help.
Paul Trimble is a contractor, and as he became more experienced with our program he began to lead Project Mercy house builds in 2019. Alas his scheduled builds were cut short this year with arrival of COVID-19.
We were looking forward to using everyone’s talents a lot more in 2020, but then the coronavirus struck and we had to cancel and postpone a good six month’s worth of house builds. None the less, we all are anxious and eager to get back to building and working safely with our friends in Mexico.
A number of the “Amigos” will be helping to lead the group building event that we are planning at the open Escaya Village three acre site in Chula Vista this Fall.