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Ada couple retired In Mexico weathers Hurricane Patricia


Here's a story with a happy ending.

A West Michigan couple that retired in the Mexican Pacific Coast is alive and well following Friday's Hurricane Patricia.

Mary and Marvin Dolinka lived in Ada until three years ago, when they decided to retire in a tiny hotel they bought in Sayulita - a town just 30 minutes north of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

"It's known for its beautiful beaches, its friendly people, everything is in walking distance." 

But the news over the weekend warned that Patricia, a hurricane with 200 mph winds, would be catastrophic. 

"The news media was accurately reporting, but no one really knew what or where it was going to be," Mary says, "so it produced a great sense of terror in people."

The Dolinkas secured their thatch-roof buildings as best they could and headed to concrete structures for safety.

"We had contingency plans that if the worst did happen we would continuously go to higher ground," Mary says. 

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto sent 11k civil defense units to secure vulnerable areas like Sayulita. But when the storm hit land, it fell apart.

"If it had to hit land, especially in Mexico, it hit in the best place possible," Mary says, "because, where it hit, there are severe, sheer cliffs."

The Mexican government reported a 'white' body count meaning that nobody died as a direct result of the storm.

"Finally in the morning we woke up very very early and there were a pair of rainbows that were coming off the ocean and the sunrise was there," Mary says. "Everybody in town, we were all out in the street."

Double rainbows and a sun set. Not a terrible way for West Michigan couple to weather the biggest storm in living memory.

Mariano Avila is WGVU's inclusion reporter. He has made a career of bringing voices from the margins to those who need to hear them. Over the course of his career, Mariano has written for major papers in English and Spanish, published in magazines, worked in broadcast, and produced short films, commercials, and nonprofit campaigns. He also briefly served at a foreign consulate, organized for international human rights efforts and has done considerable work connecting marginalized people to religious, educational, and nonprofit institutions through the power of story.
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