EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Like many El Pasoans, Revis Rankin goes to Juárez several times a week.
But, each time Rankin crosses into Mexico, he is on a mission to assist people who cannot afford medical care.
The retired U.S. Army Reserves medic gained his medic skills and knowledge by working as an ER tech for four years and then switched to different health care positions.
Several years ago, a doctor in Mexico asked him to help treat people who could not afford to go to a clinic or hospital. The doctor Rankin works with wanted to stay anonymous for safety reasons.
Rankin started his mission in Nogales, Mexico, on the border with Arizona, but then moved his work to Juárez.
“Pain is a universal language, you don’t have to speak a language to find out what’s wrong with someone medically,” explained Rankin, saying the language barrier is not a problem for him. “Unless it’s invasive — but I don’t have tools for that.”
He mostly works with injuries such as stab wounds and gunshot wounds or illnesses like the common cold.
The equipment he uses is mostly donations from different providers who want to help his cause. He said he also assists people by taking them to the pharmacy to get the right medication.
“People on this side (El Paso) of the border think I’m crazy,” said Rankin, explaining how welcomed he feels every time he goes there to help. “People on the other side of the border are the most thankful, loving people you will ever meet in your life.”
He usually goes to Juárez two to three times a week, but recently he had lost his means of transportation, which is putting a heavy financial strain on his work.
He lent his old van to a friend, who ended up wrecking it and leaving it in the middle of the road, never contacting Rankin again.
“I can’t afford going back and forth with Uber,” said Rankin. “They’re cheaper in Juárez, but they’re still costing me about $300 a week.”
Now, he takes an Uber to the border crossing, crosses the bridge on foot and then takes another Uber to his destination in Juárez. He usually leaves his equipment with one of the pharmacists, so he doesn’t have to carry it back and forth with him.
“I’ve had a million people tell me since then, ‘you’re crazy,’” said Rankin. “But my answer to that is if I’m not going to do it, then who is going to?”
If you would like to contribute to Rankin, reach out to him via his Facebook page.