join us    contact us     site map

More than 25 years ago, in November 1977, Gordon Gray, a pilot with the Foothill chapter of the Flying Samaritans in Los Angeles got approval from the International Board of Directors to form an Orange County chapter. He and another Foothill member flew to El Arco, a remote mining village in Baja California about 25 miles east of Guerrero Negro. There had once been a clinic of the Foothill chapter in El Arco, but because of the intimidating presence of a military post, and ever-present reception by armed soldiers, Foothill gave it up. Gordon, a retired U.S. Marine, felt right at home and made his first move a call on the army commandant. With that courtesy and the offer to take care of all the military and their wives and children, the clinic was a cinch. Bill and Boz French, Foothill members living in Orange County, became the first members of the newly formed OC chapter.

For about ten years the Samaritans made their monthly trips, getting to know the people of the village and making a big difference in the lives of the villagers of El Arco. But when the mines closed down and residents started leaving, there was little left for the Samaritans to do. So, in 1987 a new clinic was started in a village about 20 miles north of Guerrero Negro on the trans-peninsular highway at Jesus Maria.

This metropolis of about 500 people, which includes all those living within 20 miles, were very happy to have the Samaritans come to their village. Their local clinic's pasante was also happy to have American doctors from whom he might get additional training and help. A pasante is a first-year Mexican doctor fulfilling his one-year government service obligation as a condition of graduation from medical school. The small clinic area the Samaritans shared with the pasante did not include enough space for dental and optometric services so a decision was made to enlarge the clinic. Supplies were brought in and the local men built an addition to the clinic to be used by the Samaritans, which included a small apartment for the pasante. This arrangement proved to be very satisfactory and continues to this day.

As problems have arisen through the years, they have always been dealt with and solved, or accepted. The dirt strip that was originally used as a runway was too close to the houses, so another was constructed a short distance away. The town's electric power was intermittent at best, so the Samaritans brought a new diesel generator down for the clinic and solved that problem. Many other similar problems were handled with the help of members of a local Rotary Club and the chapter's own volunteers. Today this chapter is a thriving, vital, growing organization, offering medical, dental, chiropractic, and optometric care, as well as family counseling. It is making a big difference in the lives of a lot of people, who without this service would be left with very little in the way of medical help.

©2006 Flying Samaritans. All rights reserved.

Chapter News

Event Calendar

Clinic Schedule

Chapter Trip Info

Trip Roster

Photo Gallery


BECOME A MEMBER NOW--click here to download form

Orange County Chapter