Tuthill Employee Shares First-Hand Experience and Reflections After Mexico City Earthquake

 

By Javier Infanzon, Tuthill Fort Wayne's Regional Sales Director for Latin America & the Caribbean

The older I get, the more observant I become. Today, I learned that life is not a riddle that needs to be deciphered. It is to live each moment with awareness and take from it the lessons taught. Suddenly, I understand that I have great friends, that I work in a great company, that I have wonderful children, that this country has great potential in its people, and that there is still hope, (that I had lost). Enrique Loperena supported me without thinking. His comment was, "One by One We Become Many."

Video of the earthquake at a college

I took some time to rest because now I realize that I have only eaten an orange that someone from the Help Center where I volunteered shared with me. I'm not tired, I feel satisfied and not by the orange I ate. I am full, euphoric, touched by this, my moment. This is what I take and what belongs to me, such a great experience I have had today. How much truth is there when we have a purpose and in the "Wake the World" video creating an outstanding impact in our community, it is true, "when we come alive, the world comes along.”

We, as a country are aware of the risk of living in a seismic zone. After the 1985 earthquake we had a lot of information and drills to react in the best way possible to face a situation like this. Definitely, we are more prepared than we used to be in the past, but when the event occurs, no matter how well prepared you are, it is always tough to handle and try to remain in calm and act according to the circumstances without panic.

After the earthquake had past, (that it was violent and it felt endless), the information started flowing quickly at high speed. The first reaction was to make sure the family was OK before the communication system went down. Then you have to check the condition of the house. You try to identify the major structural damages, turn off the light and gas supplies, and finally clean up the area. You remove the broken objects to make it a safer place and clear the exit way in case of the replica or second earthquake, which is very common.

Then, my natural reaction was to try to be helpful and give support as much as I can, the same way I did in 1985. Later that night I found out a helping center, led by Civil Society, was near my home. I went there to lend a hand in the activities and I started assembling and carrying the cardboard boxes to the packaging area, and I helped at the tuna fish can area for food.

I have to say that the Civil help is flowing endlessly since Tuesday, Sept. 19, up to now. People are constantly going back and forth in the helping center. There is always someone willing to take their place in all activities. It is touching how children wrote encouraging messages on the top of the fish cans, knowing that someone in need will get the message.

Once trucks are full of supplies, the leader announces it in microphone, “Another truck is ready to be send to Puebla, Red Cross, Morelos, Coapa etc." Every single truck leaves with a loud string of applause, because everybody understands the sum of all small efforts that contributed that that truck leaving. It is incredible how the civil population reacts every time that we have the chance to get together and give a hand. All the society unites with one purpose. People can go to private or public hospital and get free assistance. All doctors, nurses, veterinarians, architects, engineers are working for free. People are also preparing food and giving it away to those in need.

When Team Rubicon decides to “Cross the River,” you can bet that I will be the first to register as a volunteer.

Endless human chains are carrying debris by bare hand. It is impossible to remain quiet before such a display of magnificence. You can imagine all the inspiring stories that start emerging. It is hard to try to explain how the things are unfolding here, and it is not my intention to try to do it.

This reminds me that recently I was talking with my kids about an interesting video of Simon Sinek who gave his opinion about the millennial generation. I told them their generation was born with a silver spoon with all the available technology right at the palm of their hands. They did not found something meaningful to contribute to in society and are perceived as “tough to handle, unfocused, narcissistic, wanting to change the world, etc.” “Wow, such a burden you have to carry,” I told them. “This [generation] requires you to be happy, passionate and successful as an obligation. There is no excuse,” I told them.

Today, I gladly withdraw my words back, because finally this young Mexican generation of millennials found that inner engine and are discovering their strength and capabilities. Above all, their character emerged. This earthquake has been claimed as theirs. My generation who survived the two largest and most violent earthquakes recorded in Mexican history stand side by side with them, watching them act and we remain in calm, because finally, “The Boys Are Here” building the greatness that they are capable of.