The City of Coral Gables International Affairs Coordinating Council (IACC), a seven-member volunteer advisory board, has been awarded the 2016 Sister Cities International Humanitarian Assistance Award for cities with a population less than 100,000.
This award is in recognition of the outstanding exchange work done by the City of Coral Gables to help save the lives of people caught in fire accidents by donating the only hook-and-ladder truck existing in La Antigua, Guatemala. The award was presented by the Washington-based Sister Cities International at its annual conference held in the nation’s capital on July 16.
In April, through the efforts of the IACC and in partnership with the International Affairs Foundation, Coral Gables donated a retired 1988 hook-and-ladder fire truck to its sister city of La Antigua along with other fire equipment such as protective gear and special helmets.
The large fire truck was transported from Homestead Air Reserve Base to Guatemala aboard a military cargo jet, thanks to the Denton Program, a Department of Defense transportation initiative that moves humanitarian cargo. A second fire truck from Coral Gables to La Antigua is scheduled to be donated.
Since the beginning of the sister city agreement in 1993, the City of Coral Gables and La Antigua have enjoyed a strong sister city bond which have included various cultural art and trade exchanges. This latest exchange will benefit the people living in La Antigua, which has a fire department run only by volunteers, who now have access to better fire protection thanks to the Coral Gables equipment donation.
The City of Coral Gables also has existing sister city relationships with Aix-en-Provence, France; Cartagena, Colombia; Granada, Spain; Province of Pisa, Italy (emeritus), and Quito, Ecuador (emeritus).