Mayors bridge the gap between two countriesAug 12, 2021 10:32AM ● By Becky Ginos
Lewis explains the brick pavers to Encalada and his group at the Bountiful Veterans Park. Photos by Becky Ginos
BOUNTIFUL—It’s not often that two mayors from different countries connect with a handshake, but that’s what happened last week as Mayor Randy Lewis welcomed Cesar Encalada, mayor of Pasaje, Ecuador to Bountiful. His visit was part of a partnership with the Charity Anywhere Foundation that provides supplies and support to several countries throughout the world.
Gordon and Susan Carter created the foundation based in Bountiful after they visited Ecuador where their son had been serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “That’s where we met Dr. (Washington) Zambrano who had joined the church,” said Gordon. “Years later we took our son to Mexico to work at a Catholic orphanage and Dr. Zambrano calls. We told him we were in Mexico to improve housing and he said, ‘I want to do that. That opened the door for him to run the show. He’s done a marvelous job.”
The foundation has representatives in each of the countries they serve to coordinate donations and Zambrano is the contact in Ecuador, said Gordon. “He contacted the National Organization of Mayors and one of them helped cover the expense of shipping containers of supplies. We’ve shipped 85 now over the last 15 years.”
The containers are usually worth half a million dollars or more in supplies and equipment, he said. “We sent eight electric hospital beds in the last shipment. They’re sent to all different villages.”
It’s that partnership that brought Encalada to Bountiful to meet with Lewis to show his appreciation. Maria Christina Fuentes, Minister of National Affairs for Ecuador accompanied Encalada.
“She is the director of the international corporation that regulates contracts with the Ecuadorian government and other countries for that city and future donations for other cities,” said Zambrano. “The foundation is committed to work in the health community, especially during the pandemic. They’re helping many institutions in Ecuador and supporting hospitals.”
“Volunteerism is a great principle,” said Lewis. “Bountiful does it well. The Carters bless people and bring back good will from us to them.”
Encalada has a large banana plantation and last year sent bananas to Lewis to show his appreciation for the foundation’s donations. “We shared them with homeless shelters, the food bank, the Navajo Nation and others,” Lewis said.
During the mayor’s visit, Lewis gave him a tour of the city offices and veterans park. “Having the mayor and dignitaries was so good,” he said. “It was touching for me to share the new city hall and veterans park. The mayor (Encalada) was obviously touched by what is there. I would love to have a closer connection with their city and Bountiful. It’s been an absolute privilege to be with them today.”