RIVER FALLS -- The motto of the River Falls Rotary International club is “Enhancing Opportunities for Youth, Making a Better World for All”.

River Falls Rotary will fulfill the second part of that motto this spring when it will send two ambulances to Ocotal, Nicaragua.

Rotarian Tony Jilek received $5,250 from Rotary clubs in River Falls, Hudson, New Richmond, Rice Lake, Barron County, Hayward and St. Croix Falls/Taylor Falls and a grant of $2,171 from the Rotary District.

Why give ambulances to Ocotal, Nicaragua? In 1965, Wisconsin and Nicaragua became partners through the Partners of the Americas, a nonprofit organization inspired by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 promoting economic cooperation across the Western Hemisphere. In 1989, Ocotal became River Falls’ Partner City and that proclamation hangs in city hall.

Rotary member Tony Jilek regularly shepherds through projects that help Nicaragua including agricultural advice, construction projects and an eyeglass program.

This spring the Wisconsin National Guard will deliver the two ambulances to Ocotal to further cement that cities connection to River Falls and improve the health of the 34,000 inhabitants of Ocotal and the surrounding area.

The River Falls Rotary meets at 7 a.m. every Tuesdays and 12 p.m. noon on the fourth Tuesday of the month at the Ezekiel Lutheran Church, 202 S. Second St.