In October 2018, local Rotary member was gifted the Key to the City of Copán Ruinas, Honduras. In a surprise event, the mayor of Copán Ruinas, Mauricio Arias, gifted Peter Martin, of Anacortes, a Key to the City to thank him for the service work Martin completed in Copán and the surrounding area during the past five years.
“This was a huge surprise and a great honor,” Martin said. “It’s nice to be recognized by people I really enjoy working with.”
During the past five years, Martin has helped provide funding, support and volunteers for improvements in Copán’s education, emergency services, vital construction projects and economic development.
In 2011, Martin was visiting the Mayan ruins near the city of Copán Ruinas, when two chance encounters changed his life. One was with a village child, who told Martin about her community’s needs; the other was with a shopkeeper who has a Rotary wheel handing on her wall. This shopkeeper, who was a member of the local Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas, encouraged Martin to get involved.
Martin was touched by these encounters, and while he wanted to help, he knew he couldn’t do it alone. When a neighbor invited him to join the Fidalgo Island Rotary Club in Anacortes, Washington, a lightbulb flicked on. This was the perfect organization whose global work could provide resources and volunteers to bring his dream of helping Copán to reality.
Today, nine local Rotary clubs in Anacortes, La Connor, Stanwood, Mount Vernon, Oak Harbor and the surrounding area, are part of the International Project Alliance, or IPA. This group, with Martin as president, partners with the Rotary Club of Copán Ruinas to fund and manage dozens of project each year, most of which benefit the Mayan villages in the mountains surrounding Copán. At any time, the IPA has at least 30 active projects.
The IPA’s projects include:
  • Finding and maintaining sponsors for 30 primary schools and 400 individual secondary students (via its Adopt-a-School and Adopt-a-Dream programs)
  • Creating library systems for village schools
  • Providing health care for students
  • Ongoing construction and repairs for schools, village power, water systems and home latrines
  • Equipment for health clinics and emergency services
  • Economic development and microfinance
“Part of our business model is to focus on things that are important to the community,” Martin said. Occasionally, the IPA will convene community meetings, discuss needs, and prioritize and vote on projects. “We don’t fund a project unless the village is willing to donate the labor. We only provide the materials and any training needed.”
The IPA is always looking for interested donors to sponsor a school or student, make a donation to the Student Health Fund or support other projects.
Rotary is an international service organization that strives to bring leaders together while advancing humanitarian efforts and goodwill, with more than 33,000 clubs and 1.2 million members worldwide.
The Fidalgo Island Rotary Club meets at 7 a.m. Tuesday mornings at the Anacortes Yacht Club, 611 T Ave. For more information or to get involved in service projects, contact the club at