In 2009 I was approached by an organization called “Paramedics for Children” about being a member of a team to travel to Guatemala and train them in rescue. In keeping things short, I soon became the Team Leader with technically no team and a small, donated rescue truck. I put together a group of volunteers from inside and outside the Reds Team willing to pay their own way and travel to Guatemala for this mission. I was able to get equipment donated to equip the rescue truck for the trip down as well. They sent two Guatemalans up and they drove the truck back to Guatemala City. That was the beginning of a journey that has grown and will hopefully continue to grow.
We traveled down in 2009 and then back again in 2010 to train their military rescue unit and firefighters. In 2010 we received a prestigious award never given to anyone outside of Guatemala. We were awarded “Ambassadors of Peace to Guatemala”. This project continues to grow as we send down donated fire and rescue equipment, ambulances, and fire trucks through the Denton Program. These vehicles and equipment are flown down via a C-17 transport jet. This allows us to send more equipment than we can using other means of transport. If you are interested in donating used or new equipment, or money, please contact us.
We continue to travel down and train the fire and rescue folks whenever we can set up and fund trips down. On our last two trips down, we trained a total of around 180 folks. In August 2022 we ran a big fire and rescue school that trained 120. In April of 2023 we trained 60 of their military rescue folks from the BHR in combat medic, ropes, and dive. We are the “Godfather” of a new fire unit starting up in San Vicente Pacaya, nestled near a highly visited, active volcano. We have been able to get them a medic unit and a fire engine as well as fire and rescue equipment to send down. We will be traveling back down to train them as soon as we can.
Our hopes are to start a program that would allow firefighters from here to travel to Guatemala to ride with them, and for their firefighters to come here and ride. This program would also be able to support more trips down to train their fire and rescue folks, purchase equipment that usually isn’t donated and handle other transport costs as needed. This program would be supported by a yearly donation by fire departments that would like to participate. It would allow for a larger bank of Instructors who would like the opportunity to travel down and teach.
We have sent down millions of dollars’ worth of equipment and vehicles over the past 14 years and will continue to for as long as we can. These rescue and firefighters are some of the most appreciative people you will ever have the opportunity to meet or train.