Watson, Rotarians, build house in one day

When he’s not building bridges to Mammoth’s Hispanic community, Police Chief Dan Watson is helping build houses for Mexico’s impoverished.

Two weekends ago, Watson and about 40 members of the Mammoth Rotary Club were in Sierra Azul, a small Mexican village near Tecate, building a house in one day.

“The homes built by Corazon volunteers are humble by U.S. standards,” Watson said. “They have no plumbing or electricity, but they are a big step-up for the recipients and very much appreciated.”
Linda Wright, president of the Noon Rotary Club in Mammoth, said the Rotarians came home “with a true sense of community.”

“The motto of Rotary is ‘Service Above Self,’ and we came back tired,” she said. “Not only did we provide a new home to a family, we all captured the spirit of giving and returned with a stronger sense of fellowship among ourselves.”

Watson said it takes $7,800 for the materials and 30 to 50 volunteers to build a house. Corazon (in English, “Heart”) works with nonprofit organizations, service clubs, churches and schools.

The two Mammoth Lakes Rotary Clubs raised the funds, including a nice donation from Mammoth Mountain CEO Rusty Gregory, and provided the volunteers who ranged in age from 14 to over 70.
The group traveled to El Cajon on Friday, May 18, and met at 6 a.m. on Saturday morning. The Rotarians then traveled across the border to the job site where they met the De la Rocha-Lora family, which had donated hundreds of volunteer hours in their community to get on the list for a new home.

The volunteers also found a 16-by-20 foot concrete slab and all the materials for the house.

Construction started at about 8 a.m. and was finished by 3:30 p.m. The family provided lunch for all the volunteers.

“This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Wright said.