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SMITH: Credit card helps bring Alexis home

Alexis Vargas, the accomplished Santa Rosa teen badly hurt in a Christmas-vacation highway crash in Mexico, is back in California.

It took some serious doing to cover her bills at a hospital in Saltillo and to arrange to fly Alexis and her dad to San Francisco. Members of Rotary clubs on both sides of the border stepped up big time, along with friends of Alexis and her cousin, Cristina Vargas, at Elsie Allen High.

Money raised by Elsie students paid part of the cost of the treatment Alexis received at a Mexican hospital. When a Rotary leader in Mexico who befriended Alexis and her dad went to pick her up from the hospital, he was told there was still a fair amount of money due.

So he handed over his credit card.

"These Rotarians are a special bunch," said Sonoma County Supervisor Efren Carrillo, who's been coordinating relief efforts since Alexis and Cristina were injured in the Dec. 23 crash that killed Cristina's mother.

Local Rotary members have responded heroically because Alexis, who's now in a hospital in San Francisco, has been active in Elsie Allen's Interact Club, sponsored by the Santa Rosa Sunrise Rotary Club.

The international response also will benefit Cristina, who remains hospitalized in Texas. Hopes are that by next week she'll be up to a trip back to California, too.

PASTA AND MUSIC will be plentiful at a benefit that's coming together for the girls.

It will happen from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 27, in Finley Hall at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds.

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