Residence: Española, New Mexico
Background: Deborah Simon was raised in Guatemala and came to the United States to attend the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center where she graduated with a degree nursing. In additional to her work in the hospital, she participated on medical mission teams to Guatemala for 2 weeks each year for 12 years. In 1996, while participating on the medical team, she was asked by the mayor of the town of Uspantan for assistance in obtaining a system of clean water for the population of 6,000. Deborah, who is a Rotarian, wrote a grant to the Rotary Foundation for the project. Once completed, the chlorinated water system significantly reduced the level of cholera and increased the school attendance for girls, who no longer had to haul water home from the river. Soon, Deborah was getting requests for clean water projects from many other Guatemalan villages. She has been coordinating water and sanitation projects through the Rotary grant process ever since.
In 2004 Deborah founded United by Friendship to better respond to community needs in Central America that Rotary typically does not fund, such as the construction of schools, clinics and investment in economic development. The result has been that 22 Guatemalan communities now have clean water systems, and many others now have adequate schools and medical care. She enlists the beneficiaries and the local county government to partner with UbF on the projects, in accordance with an old Mayan saying, “We are to take one another by the hand. No one walks in front and no one walks behind and together we will reach our goals.”
Deborah is a past president of the Espanola Rotary club. In 2015 she was presented the Distinguished Service award by the Rotary District of New Mexico and West Texas. She was also one of 15 persons worldwide to receive the Rotary International Humanitarian Award for 2015. The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper named her one of the Ten Who Made a Difference.
Residence: Seattle, Washington
Background: Tim was raised in Embudo, a small village on the Rio Grande in Northern New Mexico. He received a BS and an MS in mechanical engineering from Stanford University. Tim quickly transferred his engineering skills to computer software development and has had an extremely fulfilling career as a consultant.
He joined Rotary International in 2008 and joined the volunteer team for the 2010 trip to Guatemala. The trip was not only rewarding but insightful. Tim enjoyed being part of the numerous projects as well as getting to know numerous new friends in Guatemala.
Residence: Austin, Texas
Background: Tricia was raised in Houston, Texas and has a Natural Resource Management BS from Texas State University and earned her MBA in 2003. Tricia is an environmental scientist that has worked for INTERA Incorporated for over 20 years. She has always felt strongly about the responsible use and conservation of the world’s resources and the environment and she lends her skills in geology and hydrology to benefit the Guatemala water projects. Her interests include traveling and learning about other cultures, wildlife and bird watching, hiking, and fitness and yoga.
Tricia participated on several Guatemala service trips and became a member of the board in 2013. She enjoys learning about the physical environment of the Guatemala Highlands, and has especially enjoyed meeting the vibrant and endearing people of the Uspantan area. Her first trip to Guatemala was enlightening and educational and prompted her interest in helping communities in need in Guatemala and Latin America. She is very encouraged and moved by the positive changes that UbF is able to inspire in these rural and impoverished communities through the funding of water, education, and medical projects. She feels that one of the most amazing aspects of the projects is the indirect benefits that are experienced by the communities that are receiving the projects, including formerly divided leaders of a village coming together for a common cause of bringing clean and potable drinking water to the village families.
Residence: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Background: As an Army brat, Linda was raised in a variety of places including three years in El Salvador. Her teen years and thereafter were spent in El Paso, TX, until 2013, when she and her husband, Mervin, relocated to Santa Fe, a longtime dream. Her travels have included Europe, Canada and two trips to Guatemala. They have two children and a granddaughter.
Linda earned a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Texas El Paso. She was a Certified Public Account for nineteen years. In 1998 she retired and went back to school, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in ceramics and metalsmithing at UTEP. Since then she has designed, made and sold functional pottery and contemporary silver jewelry.
Linda’s community work has included board memberships in The Rotary Club of West El Paso, her neighborhood association in El Paso, El Paso Las Artistas and Planned Parenthood of El Paso.
Residence: Santa Fe, New Mexico
Background: Allen was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, He graduated from Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA with a BA in History. He went on to earn an M.A. at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Medford, MA. He spent the next 32 years with Citibank N.A. in various corporate banking and management assignments in Europe, Africa and the U.S. He met his wife, Geraldine in Belgium, and they have three grown sons all born overseas who have produced five super grandchildren! In 1997Allen took early retirement from Citibank and left as a Senior Risk Manager at the Bank’s head office in NYC.
After leaving Citibank, Allen followed his passion for the outdoors by becoming a Wilderness Backpacking Instructor leading multi-week courses for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) for over nine years from 1997-2008 in WY, ID, MT, and NM. He served on their Board of Trustees for six years and as Chair the last two years. His focus at NOLS was teaching leadership.
Soon after moving to Santa Fe in 1998 Allen joined the Santa Fe Council on International Relations and the Rotary Club of Santa Fe. He served on the former’s Board for six years and was responsible for organizing their International Lecture Series. He has also been active in Rotary serving on the local Club’s Board for five years and as president of the Club’s Foundation as well as the Club, itself. He worked with Deborah for two years keeping track of District wide funds coming in from Rotarians and Clubs for her Guatemala projects. He has thoroughly enjoyed his participation in non-profit organizations and would like to continue in this direction with United by Friendship