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Augustin Marcos de la Cruz 1932 - 2012

Posted by Dr. D , 27 September 2012 · 667 views

Before coming to Mexico, I lived in Honduras.  The major cities of that nation are plagued with problems brought on by the Mara Salvatrucha, a highly organized gang numbering in the tens of thousands.  It was better, I thought, to live farther into the countryside. Finding a home was not easy and later, going to Tegucigalpa was a five hour drive that took me through the muddy, impoverished village of Siguatepeque.  The village has little to offer, I thought, until I stopped at a tiny market to buy a Coca Cola.  That fateful purchase led me to be the principle and only investor in an experimental helicopter.

His name was Augustin Marcos de la Cruz and he was a visionary, a dreamer, an inventor, an engineer and an example to the world.  No one ever, ever gave a greater portrayal of determination, courage and dedication.  He worked in a small garage loaned to him by a cousin and he slept in a shack that rattled against the wind.  Crippled from early youth, even his hands failed him in his later years.  But every day he worked in the construction of his helicopter and every day people spoke of him as being insane, demented, crazy.

The village priest hails from a small town in Ohio but has somehow fitted neatly into the life of Honduras.  His Spanish is impeccable and he is respected as the mediator of all social problems.  As much as he wanted to help Augustin in the construction of his helicopter, there were not enough coins dropped into the offering each Sunday and the Bishop viewed Augustin’s helicopter as lunacy.  That’s where I was brought in as the investor in a dream.  My 100% ownership would be enacted upon Augustin’s death, but until then I was to deposit the grand sum of $50 dollars a month for the completion of the craft and maintenance of its creator.

The helicopter was an odd assortment of gears, chains, wheels and pulleys that somehow turned two clumsy blades perched on top of a tall tube.  The drive shaft of an old Chevrolet served as the impetus.  It was not a helicopter that could really fly, it was a helicopter conceived as a dream and a representation of a half century of noble labor.  It was the labor of love held by a man without education or particular genius.  It was a simple shoemaker who yearned to fly.  If Augustin was crazy, I was more so because I believed in him and his right to cherish his dream.

The message of Augustin’s life was so profound, I wanted it recorded for history.  It was not difficult to convince a friend who produced a couple documentaries that it was a tale worth the telling.  I don't know if he was responsble for it or not but In time, with the enormous aid of Brian Walker, a camera crew headed by Trevor Hill went to the village and filmed Augustin and his lifetime of work – his helicopter.


On Sunday, September 23, Augustin did not go to work.  His delicate, twisted frame was found just as he had curled to go to sleep.  At last, my old friend has learned to fly.

Thanks for a beautiful and inspiring story.
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I so dearly hoped, there was more to you Dr D than the creepy, grouch, grudging, that you have come across to me as...Thank you for proving my hopes well founded.
You do have a heart and a will to fly. Good, good. Thank you.
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Thanks Blue Star, but let's not get mushy about it.
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Sep 29 2012 08:43 AM
I really look forward to reading your blogs Dr. D...excellent
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