Cd’A pilot makes children focus of relief mission

Coeur d’Alene pilot Ron Polley first saw the damage left by Hurricane Jimena in September, while on a relief mission to bring emergency supplies to the ravaged town of Mulege, Mexico. More than two months later, Polley was back in Mulege – this time with a much different mission.

The first relief-support for the school children of Mulege, Mexico arrived inside Polley’s Mooney, single engine Cessna on November 14th. But this time it wasn’t water and medical supplies, instead Polley’s plane was loaded with backpacks.

Each child in Mulege’s school received their very own backpack complete with school supplies inside, each made possible by donations from the people in the Inland Northwest.

“This is going to help so much because they are going to use these things in the school, they are going to use all of these things,” said Alma Mesa, a parent of one of the children.

Polley flew to Mulege, Mexico two months earlier, delivering clothes and medical supplies following the wrath of Jimena. Homes, businesses, and schools were flooded and overrun by mud; hundreds of people lost everything.

This was Ron’s first trip back since first seeing the devastation.

“I didn’t even know until last week that they’ve had no money in the coiffeurs at the schools to buy any school supplies,” said Polley. “There’s a very good chance that this is probably the first relief that has come to the schools in Mulege area.”

Polley brought with him 44 multi-colored backpacks of relief. By the kids reaction to the gift, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. Paper, pencils, crayons, and coloring books – things that most of us take for granted – will go a long way for this community left with so little.

“It’s all coming together,” said Polley. “We have a lot more to bring down, hopefully we’ll bring them all down next time, we have about another 200 to go and we’ll spread them around.”

Mesa said all of the children seem to be thrilled with the school supplies. It’s a small gesture from the Inland Northwest, making a huge difference a world away.

Ron says he made it a point to greet each child individually before handing out the packs, introducing himself and learning their names.

“I think that will go a long way and I hope we created a memory for them so that years down the line, if nothing else, they’ll remember the day… where some Gringo brought a bunch of stuff down for them,” Polley said. “Maybe they will, in fact, return the favor some day to Coeur d’Alene and Spokane.”