Donated Ambulances Headed from Omaha to Mexico

The city's donation included four ambulances, seven Hurst Extrication Tools, and several SCBAs. The donation was facilitated by the Omaha Sister Cities Association; Omaha works with six sister cities located in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

Four ambulances and additional emergency response equipment are being shipped to the city of Xalapa, Mexico, soon, after the city of Omaha donated the material to its sister city, which has more than 700,000 residents and is located 120 miles east of Mexico City. It's being shipped to the Mexican border in specially modified uni-level rail cars by Union Pacific, which is based in Omaha, with the donated equipment and the transportation provided free of charge. Kansas City Southern de Mexico will complete the journey to Xalapa.

The city's donation included seven Hurst Extrication Tools and several SCBAs, the railroad announced in a June news release. The donation was facilitated by the Omaha Sister Cities Association; Omaha works with six sister cities located in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

"Omaha's sister city relationships are championed by local groups who have an ethnic or business connection," said John Murray, who serves on the Omaha Sister Cities Association's board of directors. "Right now, Omaha completes business, education, artistic, and humanitarian exchanges with cities in Japan, Germany, Lithuania, Ireland, Mexico, and China."

According to the release, Omaha had sent two ambulances to Xalapa in 2010. "They've used them quite a bit, and the equipment is still badly needed," Murray said. "When we found out Omaha had more equipment, we asked if the city was willing to donate it. Humanitarian exchanges show good faith. Omaha is blessed with a lot of wealth, and I think it's important that we share our resources in addition to sharing our culture."

Xalapa Mayor Américo Zúñiga Martínez participated in the May 24 donation ceremony held at the Durham Museum, formerly known as Omaha's Union Station. "We are very proud to have this relationship with Omaha," he said. "It lets us know about the people, culture, and history of this beautiful city. The Omaha Fire Department is not only a group of heroes in Omaha, but also in Mexico. We are grateful for all they have given us. We have communities that are very, very far from the hospitals. We also have some very poor communities that are excited to receive this show of generosity."

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