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The 24 Hour Association Celebrates Day of the Dead at Fábrica La Aurora

By Natalie Hardy

The 24 Hour Association was established in 1965 to take care of foreigners who passed away here on foreign soil, and who resided in San Miguel and the surrounding area. Negotiating Mexican legal requirements is no small feat under normal circumstances, and when the survivors are in shock from the passing of a loved one, they are even less capable of navigating the endless bureaucratic requirements … even of dying. Those who become members of the association essentially give over to competent volunteers and officers of the association the task of handling these urgent steps when the bereaved is, frankly, not in a good place to do so.

The association is proud to celebrate 50 years of service. While we normally stay in low profile in the community, we want to celebrate a 50-year stretch of service. Such an opportunity only comes once. We will construct an altar at Fábrica Aurora during the Day of the Dead festivities and will display on the altar photos of deceased members submitted by their loved ones for that purpose. If you wish to submit a photo, please take it (non-returnable) to Solutions at Recreo 11, Box 41B, before October 28. We are especially grateful to board member at-large, Nancy Sclight, for her effort in making this altar happen.

We are a volunteer, not-for-profit association which is membership only. We keep files for members regarding “person to contact upon my death,” location of necessary documents of member, last wishes in terms of service, disposition of ashes if so chosen, niche or crypt or ground internment at the Panteón.

Why are we unique in San Miguel? The 24 Hour Association is the only entity in San Miguel that can register a death and obtain a death certificate without the involvement of a family member. This is because our executive secretary, Linda Cooper, has special dispensation to act on behalf of the family in this not-for-profit organization. All other competing services require the participation of a family member. We are a volunteer organization, dedicated strictly to the needs of its members.

Do come and visit our altar at the Fábrica Aurora the weekend of the Day of the Dead. And if you have a loved one who was a member and served by 24 Hours at death, celebrate that person with a picture on the altar. Dedicated volunteers will be at the altar to distribute the facts and details on becoming a member and participating in this extraordinary service. The Association is a testament to how an expat community knows how to take care of its own.

Natalie Hardy has been a 24 Hour board member for 11 years. She is current vice president and public relations director of the association. Her gratitude exceeds what she can give to the association. Her husband died here 11 years ago, and she speaks from first-hand experience.


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