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Mendel takes gear to Cambodia
Philanthropist to deliver 14 boxes of firefighting equipment - by Jonathan Batuello, Summit Daily News, Colorado, USA
Former Summit County resident Doug Mendel is making his 12th philanthropic trip to Cambodia this week, where he will be for the next three and a half weeks distributing firefighting equipment. He will be taking 850 pounds in 14 boxes of firefighting bunker gear to deliver to the Phnom Penh fire department and checking up on five other stations he has supported in Sihanoukville, Kampot, Battambang, Siemreap and Banung. Mendel started the relief fund five and a half years ago to help support fire stations and children in Cambodia. In that time he has managed to have two fire trucks put into use, including one donated by Breckenridge’s Red, White and Blue Fire Protection District, and raised $63,000 through the sale of crafts, donations and fundraisers.
On this trip, he will check the status of everything he has already donated and get ideas for what is needed in the future. “I’m going to let them know I’m not going to be coming next year because I need a break to concentrate on fundraising,” Mendel said. “(I’m) going to touch base with them and see how they are doing and see what their wish list would be for when I do come back in 2010.” Mendel now resides and runs his fund out of Montrose after living for a short time in Moab, Utah, and his project is gaining more support in that area. “It’s definitely picking up,” he said. “With the schools, I was able to sell in May when I first moved there ... and I’ve had a lot of media exposure there.” Although Mendel no longer resides in Summit County, he still visits often and plans to continue to sell crafts in the area. He is planning on being back in the county in November to sell at local schools and then in December for the Christmas bazaar in Silverthorne. “I still have wonderful support here, so I do my best to come here, ...” Mendel said. “I feel fortunate that, even though I moved away two years ago, I’m still able to come here seven times a year ... because I know Summit County enjoys helping out with my endeavors helping the Cambodian people.” Beyond contributing by selling crafts, Mendel is hoping that his extra time in the United States will help garner more attention and financial support. “I’m looking for donations to kind of ramp up my efforts to have fire trucks and fire stations in Cambodia,” he said. Donations can be made on Mendel’s website, www.douglasmendel.com.