Flying Samaritans all-volunteer organization came about as a result of pilot Aileen Saunders Mellott, her son and four friends who were returning from a race in Baja, Mexico, in 1961, and due to bad weather were forced to land. The people of El Rosario, Baja California, Mexico, came to their aid and made them comfortable until the weather cleared and they could resume their trip. Anita “Mama” Espinosa, the proprietor of the local general store (now Mama Espinosa’s Restaurant and well known throughout Baja for great food) was one of the locals who helped feed the group. In 2012, “Mama Espinosa” turned 105 years young.

While there, Aileen and her friends observed the poverty and total lack of medical care in the area. The ladies returned to thank the village with gifts and a doctor. The need was so great they started making regular trips. In 1964, Flying Samaritans became an official organization and is now celebrating 50 years of providing medical care to Baja, Mexico residents. For a more detailed history, see www.flyingsamaritans.net.

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