Documentary honors Bend Rotarian's work
Clinic promotes health, saves lives in Mexican town
Photographer Alan Huestis has filmed and worked on many stories in his lifetime, but his most recent piece is personal.
"Paul Heidtke -- he was a Rotarian with a heart of gold," Huestis said this week.
Huestis has made a documentary dedicated to his late friend and fellow Rotarian, Paul Heidtke, and his work.
"Paul had initiated a mosquito abatement program, water purification, he had done a lot of different things," Huestis said. "But this one really enabled the low income individuals in Los Barilles, and there's quite a few of them to receive health care at a lower cost, or in some cases for free."
Heidtke helped East Cape Health Center come to life in Los Barriles, Baja California sur Mexico through World Community Service and the help of Rotary, one of which he started in Los Barriles.
"It was a clinic that a nurse had initiated, but got stuck in the political arena of trying to get it done," Huestis said. "Paul came through and got the ball rolling."
He not only got it up and running, but a growing, life-saving part of the community.
"I can remember in our warehouse at our office, he was keeping huge pieces of medical equipment and then driving them down there," said Heidtke's son, Dustin Heidtke.
The people of Los Bariles used to have to travel 70 miles for good health care. Now citizens can get the health and dental care they need for free or at low cost right in town. And through a new program, "Passport To Health," children can start getting crucial screenings at an early age.
They now have an ambulance, and an ultrasound machine.
Although the documentary focuses on the work of Heidtke, it is just an example of the great things Rotarians do for people around the world.
"Rotary has nearly eradicated polio from the face of the Earth, and it's these little things that make the world better, one project at a time," Huestis said.
The East Cape Health Center is a prime example, and it's why Heidtke asked Huestis two years ago to make this documentary.
Unfortunately, Heidtke never got to see the finished product.
"He would love it, but he would say the focus and the spotlight is not on myself Paul, it's on the Rotary Club and serving the community in Baja, his second home," Heidtke said.
Huestis added, "I wish Paul could see the end result. And I just thank Paul for all that he did, all he taught me as an individual, and he just got me excited about everything I did, and service above self. I wish he were here today."
Heidtke died last March here in Bend. A tumor was discovered in Los Barilles by an ultrasound at the East Cape Health Center, the very same one he helped secure for the facility.
Today, the Rotary continues to help the clinic. If you would like to donate to the clinic you can visit their website: eastcapemedical.com or you can make a donation through the Mt. Bachelor Rotary: www.clubrunner.ca/Portal/Home.aspx?accountid=8688.
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