By Kenny Rogers
Special to The SUN
In the mountains of Puerto Rico approximately 65 miles from the capital of San Juan is the Marta La Fontaine Elementary School in the town of Utuado. The school serves approximately 140 students.
The school and the community around the school were devastated by Hurricane Maria in September 2017. A few months after the hurricane, Jonathan Dobson, of Pagosa Springs, took a trip down into that area seeing how he could help the people of Puerto Rico. He came across the Marta La Fontaine Elementary School that had no electricity to support the school.
The electrical grid in the area was in terrible condition. Being in the solar installation business, he concluded that a rooftop solar installation with batteries would help them solve their problem of no electrical power, plus when power was restored to the area, it would be a great backup system during power failures and other storm events.
Upon returning to Pagosa Springs, he approached the local Rotary Clubs with the idea of locally funding a humanitarian project to install solar panels to the roof of the Marta La Fontaine Elementary School. With this thought in mind, the project was named “The San Juans for San Juan.” A 501(c)(3) account was set up by the Pagosa Mountain Morning Rotary Club to facilitate fund raising for this project.
Since August 2018, the clubs have been able to raise approximately $10,000 toward funding the project. This is still approximately $10,000 short of totally completing the installation of the solar units.
The installers, Dobson and Doug Large, are scheduled to fly to Puerto Rico on March 24 to install everything that they can with the monies available. There is a solar supply warehouse in San Juan that has all the components needed, so that will not deter them. The project will take about 12 days to complete and the two installers are donating their time at no cost to the project.
The Rotary Clubs have reached out to the other Rotary Clubs in our district for help and have received numerous donations, but we’re still only half way to reaching our goal of $20,000. Being a 501(c)(3) project, all donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. Tax receipts will be provided to each business or individual that would like to support this very worthy project. Checks can be made out to PMMRC-CSF (Pagosa Mountain Morning Rotary Club-Community Services Fund) and mailed to P.O. Box 1345, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147. You can also call Ken Rogers at (303) 902-5340 or Dobson at 507-0754.
The installers and Rotary Clubs are passionate about this project. They are committed to installing the best system they can with the monies available at the time. Please consider helping this worthwhile humanitarian project.
By Kenny Rogers