"Another team member and I worked on fitting a fourteen-year-old girl into a chair while on a distribution in Mazatlan. We worked on this chair and with this family for over an hour and a half. We talked to the family to learn their story and had to make adjustments and get different pieces to make the chair work for their daughter and their lifestyle. And all our hard work was more than worth it when the girl's mother thanked us in Spanish with tears in her eyes. The work you do down there changes the lives of not only the disabled and their families but also your own. This trip and this organization taught me to appreciate people of different cultures and from different walks of life."
-Shannon Lair, Woodinville, Washington, Team 4 & Team 9
"I have been on trips with Push International many times. It always amazes me to see the gratitude that the people we serve share with us. I am a much better person after I return from the trip. I set out to serve the people and always find that I am the one being served. When you get the chance to get on your knees in front of a person who is thought of as not significant in their culture, see the smiles and joy in their face, while wiping the tears from your own, you truely see a miracle. The big difference that i find with Push International is these many miracles. Push International always puts relationship first. Push builds into the community and doesn't just hold events. Push makes promises to the people and keeps them by returning to serve again and again. Family is the best word I can think of. Push is part of the family with the people they serve and I found that having served with Push that I am part of the family too."
- Russ Miller, Colorado Springs, Colorado, Teams 4, 9, 10, 15 & 16
"Our church has sent several teams to serve with Push International over the last few years and have loved the opportunity to help bring mobility and dignity to many people of all ages. Seeing the impact that mobility has on the lives of the person receiving the mobility aid is indescribable; but the impact on their family is very emotional and freeing for them as well. Push International serves an important role in our world, bringing people together to aid and serve, to love and care for folks in need of mobility--a powerful ministry!"
-Pastor Ric McMillian, Teams 3, 6 & 8
Resurrection Lutheran Church, Texas
Meeting Sergio Valdez is a memorable experience indeed. Although quite humble, he is also very formidable, confident and energetic. His mechanical and carpentry skills were developed through a career in construction. He comes from a family of carpenters and craftspeople. He is strong as an ox and always has a kindly smile on his face. Sergio is also an artist. But that is only the beginning. Sergio regularly participates in the Annual Marathon in his home town. He was ranked 1st in tennis in the singles and doubles division in his district and is an athelete of high order. Since the accident which broke his back in a fall on a construction site 16 years ago, Sergio Valdez is also a wheelchair user. Working at Push International is his dream job, he is happy to tell others at every opportunity. "I never dreamed that I would have the chance to serve so many disabled people or to make such an immediate and positive impact on the lives of so many families", he said to reporters in an interview from the local press on one occasion. Today Sergio is the Director of Distributions at Push International’s Hub # 1 based in Mazatán, México. He oversees the modifications, adaptations and adjustments to each wheelchair to assure that every piece of donated equipment perfectly suits the needs and conditions of the person with disabilities and of his or her family. Sergio says, “Every day I am blessed to see how my work lifts people up, recognizes their inherent dignity and inspires them to use their own unique talents to overcome the challenges and circumstances they face in their own daily lives.”
- Jeff Lair, Member of the Board of Directors, Teams 1, 4 ,7, 9, 10, 11, 14, 15, 16, 18
"A ten year old boy came into the rehabilitation center being pushed by his parents. The chair he was in was too large for him and he was slumped over and not interacting with his environment. I thought he must be severely disabled. We put him into a smaller kiddie chair and adjusted it to fit him. We took his hands and showed him how to push the chair. Within five minutes he was wheeling himself around the room with a huge smile on his face teasing people that he was going to run them over. He is now able to interact with his environment independently and can be in charge of where he wants to go."
-Christiane Smith-Buhl, Tacoma, Washington, Team 7
Ongoing sustainability is flourishing in Mazatlan!
Pedro first met the staff of Push International 8 years ago when he received his first wheelchair. Pedro returned to the Push International warehouse in need of a new chair. He had outgrown the last chair he had received and he knew right where to come to have his needs met, Push International’s wheelchair repair and refurbishing shop! The cute young boy we met 8 years ago returned as a growing, active and motivated young man ready to take on the world. It was wonderful to see Pedro again! We were able to give him a new chair that fits his needs much better and recycle his old chair to meet the needs of a smaller child. Pedro is now considering becoming an apprentice at our wheelchair repair and refurbishing shop so that he can learn how to repair and maintain equipment to help other people with disabilities in need.
- Bree Lair, Tacoma, Washington, Team 10