Tuesday, February 20 , 2018, 5:42 am | Fair 37º


One Town’s Garbage Truck is Another Town’s Gift

Mario Borgatello of MarBorg Industries donates a trash compactor truck, fostering a sister city relationship between Goleta and Mexico's Union de San Antonio.

Union de San Antonio in Jalisco, Mexico, soon will receive its first trash compactor truck, as well as other much-needed items, thanks to the generosity of Goleta residents. (Mario Borgatello photo)

Thanks to the efforts of some well-meaning local citizens, Union de San Antonio – in Jalisco, Mexico – is on its way to receiving its first trash compactor truck, among other items that will update the city’s technology.

“The truck is now at the border of the U.S. and Mexico,” said Gil Garcia, who is spearheading the campaign to bring much-needed items to Union de San Antonio.

The truck, valued at $50,000, was donated by Mario Borgatello, the head of MarBorg Industries.

“When Mario found out that they didn’t even have a trash compactor truck, he went ahead and donated one of his,” said Garcia, local architect, former Santa Barbara city councilman and president of the U.S. Mexico Sister Cities Association, who is working on establishing a sister city relationship between Goleta and Union de San Antonio.

Garcia can trace his roots directly to that city, which has the population of Goleta but the size of Santa Barbara County. For that matter, he said, so can many other Goletans of Mexican heritage, which is one of the reasons it made sense for him to try to forge a social, cultural and economic link between the two cities.

Aside from the trash compactor truck, several used wheelchairs and electric muscle stimulation units will be headed there, thanks to local physical therapist Jean Louis Durand and the Rehabilitation Institute at Santa Barbara, and 10 used computers, through the work of Garcia Architects’ Elisa Garcia.

“They had what they called a computer classroom at the local school, but all they had was a computer desk,” said Gil Garcia, who’s calling on the community for more donations of rehab equipment that will help patients who suffer from physical deformities and disabilities because of disease and poor nutrition.

It’s a big step for Union de San Antonio, and it will be the first of many more. Later this year, a group of therapists is scheduled to head there to train local therapists in rehab procedures, and a local trash collection expert will teach the basics of modern trash collection and recycling.

Garcia, meanwhile, will lend his architectural expertise to help bring buildings up to spec and, with a team of planners, take a look at the city’s infrastructure.

If all goes well, a group of Union’s citizens will make a formal visit to Goleta and, Garcia hopes, a local Goleta city official will visit Union, bringing the two cities that much closer to sisterhood.

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