Honduran man headed home for Christmas
Residents of Grand Bank contributed to fundraising efforts for Lenin Almendarez
A Honduran man who has spent the last 11 months in Grand Bank will be returning home in time to spend the holidays with his family.
The Town of Grand Bank joined forces with the Salvation Army Men’s Fellowship to help raise the funds needed to purchase a ticket for Lenin Almendarez, or Lenny — who is currently living onboard the Yahweh, formerly the Atlantic Pursuit — to travel home.
The vessel, once owned by Clearwater Seafoods Ltd., has been docked at the wharf in the community for more than a decade. The vessel was seized from its previous owner in 2015 as a means to pay debts owed to the Grand Bank Harbour Authority.
The old trawler was eventually sold to a private business owner who had planned to transport the ship to Honduras. Attempts to move the vessel have been unsuccessful to date and the ship has been seized again with an uncertain future.
Almendarez came to Grand Bank, along with two other men who have since left, to renovate the ship for the new owner.
Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews explained that as long as the ship was owned by a private company, someone had to remain with the vessel and that responsibility fell on Almendarez. Now that the Grand Bank Harbour Authority has placed the vessel under arrest, he no longer needs to be on board.
Matthews told The Southern Gazette on Friday, Dec. 7 he didn’t think they would reach their goal of purchasing a ticket for Lenin until sometime this week.
“The total amount of donations we received was $3,385, in two days only,” he said. “The overwhelming support from the community was just so impressive, true to form like good Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.”
The fundraising campaign was initiated on Tuesday, Dec. 4.
Matthews added that support also came from businesses within the community, and from other towns.
He explained that from the funds raise they were able to purchase the ticket for Almendarez. “The other expenses that he’s required to have, we have the money all allocated for that,” the mayor said.
He added that Almendarez is very thankful for the support he has been given during his time in the community.
“He says he’s, ‘Happy, happy, happy,’” according to Matthews.
Matthews said on behalf of the Town of Grand Bank, The Salvation Army Men’s Fellowship and Almendarez he would like to extend his thanks to everyone that donated to this initiative.
A recent attempt to have the Yahweh, formerly the Atlantic Pursuit, removed from the wharf in Grand Bank has been unsuccessful.