Humane Borders organizes annual 'blessing of the fleet'

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Various religious leaders and members of the community gathered at the House of Neighborly Service in South Tucson for the annual "blessing of the fleet" on Sunday, April 24.

Religious leaders each took time to bless the Humane Borders' trucks, which service the water stations placed in the desert along the Arizona-Mexico border.

But the various prayers were also geared towards the volunteers who give their time to the organization.

"There are possibilities of harassment, various dangers on the road. The people driving the trucks bring not only water, but are ambassadors of reconciliation," said Father John Erickson, a priest of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

Humane Borders said summer is a busy time for the volunteers. The four vehicles with volunteers head out almost every day to the water stations.

"We've seen over 100 human remains discovered just in the Tucson sector every year. It's almost the equivalent of a plane crash happen here," said Juanita Molina, executive director of Humane Borders.

Molina said the work of the volunteers becomes even more crucial in the summer because more immigrants lose their lives while trying to cross into the U.S. during the summer.

"Even today we already already got a report of someone who was lost in the desert," she said. "Again there are so many tragedies that occur. And so it becomes a time when servicing the water stations, getting out into the desert and servicing these areas become more important."

It's with this in mind that members of the community and religious leaders of various faiths gathered for the annual blessing of the fleets.

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