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Progreso City Council recognizes the altruistic work of the expat community

by Yucatan Times
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Progreso, Yucatán, (August 14, 2021).- With the aim of thanking the ex-pat community for the great altruistic work carried out in the Chelem Puerto community, Mayor Julián Zacarías Curi presented the recognition “Ma ‘a wa’alik yaakunaj e’sej” (don’t say love, prove it) to Kelley Conway and Lorenzo Cobb, representatives of various associations that for 8 years have contributed to the well-being of the community.

Photo: Ron Irwin

Accompanied by Commissioner Bianey Chim Pat, representatives of religious congregations and members of the expat community, as well as nautical committees, the mayor pointed out that during the 3 years of his municipal government, the support of the foreign community has been a fundamental element for the development of many sectors of society.

“Today I am very happy and I want to thank you for all the friendly work you do and also reiterate that during these 3 more years to come you can count on my support and we will continue working shoulder to shoulder for the benefit of our municipality,” he added.

Photo: (Progreso hoy)

Also, Conway thanked on behalf of his colleagues for the opportunity that has been given her by the City Council to be able to work and get involved in different actions with the local society, she also highlighted the good work that has been done by the authorities, as a great change can be seen.

And it is that from the hand of associations such as ‘Chelem Amigos’, ‘No more dogs’, ‘The toy donation group’, ‘Chelem school support’, to mention a few, more than 2,000 people have been benefited so far in the 2018-2021 administration through school scholarships, food banks, care and rescue of street animals, donation of computers and electronic tablets.

Photo: Ron Irwin

“I am very happy to meet good people willing to help others, this recognition is a reminder of how much it has been done for our Progreseños and we will always be grateful for changing the lives of many and for choosing our municipality as their second home, We will always have the doors open for you and you will always have my respect and admiration ”, said mayor Julian Zacarías Curi.

The Yucatan Times contacted Kelley Conway and asked her how does she feel about the recognition made by the municipal authorities:

Kelley Conway: I am happy to tell you what our experience has been in  Chelem Chuburna in the last 7.5 years about expat organizations who have worked to improve lives in the Yucatan.  My fiancee, Loren Cobb, and I were awarded the “Dont Say Love, Show It” recognition yesterday by Progreso mayor Julian Zacarias Curi and Chelem Comisaria Bianey Chim Pat.    

Photo: Ron Irwin

The Yucatan Times: Why do you consider that this special award was granted to you?

Kelley Conway: I believe Loren and I received this award because we have worked under the Chelem Commisaria, Bianey Chim Pat direction for the last two years privately, and because Loren and I do not publicize the work we do with Bianey for Chelem as we are self-funded and do not need fundraisers. We do have a few close friends who also help.  Bianey is a loyal and humble servant of her people, and Loren and I want the giving to be about the giving.  It is a perfect public servant and expat partnership based on trust and respect.  In fact. this award hasn’t been given in the last 9 years, so yes, it feels very special.

Photo: Ron Irwin

The Yucatan Times: So, would you say that the Expat community has been doing collaborative work with the Comsaría de Chelem?

Kelley Conway: Absolutely, Bianey Chim knows the people of Chelem who are in need, and we work together to get what is necessary to those people under her direction and distribution. Bianey has a weekly hot meal program cooked every week by her team of volunteers which feeds 450 families or almost 2000 people every week for over 16 months now. Every Friday in Chelem.  Under Bianey’s distribution methods and knowing her citizens’ current needs, we have helped with medications, despensas, meal programs for families who are sick, injured, single-mother families, clothing, repairs to vehicles, hospital bills, and many other needs that we have done our best to fill the need. Bianey and her husband, Lemuel do the real work. 

The Yucatan Times: Do you have any plans for the future?

Kelley Conway: Loren and I are so inspired by the unselfish, dedicated service that Bianey and her husband Lemuel have done, that we are now planning major improvements in Chelem during the next few months. We want to live up to the “Dont Say Love, Show It” award , even more now!

In English, we say: Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk, Chelem is our home, and everything we can do to improve lives for our friends and neighbors in Chelem helps us ALL.  I am not the expat representative, but  I have a reputation for getting things done with respect, and I have organized other fundraisers in the last 7 years,  so I am often contacted by others, including locals and expats for needs that come up. We do what we can. We are all in this together!  We also keep confidential the needs that are out there and the families we help.

Photo: Ron Irwin

 The Yucatan Times: Which are Chelem´s main public organizations for charitable causes?

Kelley Conway: Chelem has 3 major public organizations for Charitable causes.   No Mas Perritos, run by Karen Cochrane and Tony Leworthy for the last 9 years.   Their mission is to capture, spay or neuter, and release street dogs and cats.  They also provide medications for street dogs and sadly take care of burials when one dies or is sick.  They work morning, noon, and night.   They do fundraisers such as chili cook-offs, casino nights, karaoke nights to fund their work.   They have a Facebook page under No mas perritos.   They have sterilized over 4500 dogs in the last several years and have made a difference in the street dog population in Chelem.   

Chelem Apoyo Escolar (Facebook page)  Support for students in Chelem from Elementary to high school.  Expat sponsors each child every year with books, uniforms, and supplies necessary.   They are now renovating an area in the Chelem municipal building for students with internet and computers so they can do their studies.   Apoyo is run by Kim Ray and Barry Humprey, they do one large fundraiser, Taste of Chelem, in which the main street of Chelem is blocked off for live music bands, and local restaurants sell samples of their menus.   

Chelem Christmas Toy Drive.    They provide Christmas gifts for over 700 children in Chelem, with a visit from Santa every Christmas.   They do monthly bingo events to fund themselves.
Mexican and expat run businesses like El Bullpen (Martin and Jill)  and, La Teracita donate their space for these expat events .  Rising moose coffee donates medicines.  


Photo: (Progreso hoy)

The Yucatan Times: Do you think that Expats living in Chelem help the local community in other ways too?

Kelley Conway: There are well over 150 expats living in Chelem who donate to different needs as they come up. Most expats have families that are close to them that they help. There are other private small groups who are trying to rebuild houses. 

There are numerous private individuals who put out private messages to help a local worker or a family in need.   The amount of giving and working together between Chelemeros and expats is extensive in Chelem. 

TYT Newsroom

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