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Mota helps Haitians back home

Dodgers' Mota does his part for Haiti

PHOENIX -- The recent earthquake in Chile was a painful reminder of what Manny Mota left behind on his native island of Hispanola, which is shared by the nations of Mota's Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Before reporting to Camelback Ranch-Glendale for his 53rd Spring Training, the 72-year-old Dodgers coach supported the efforts of brothers Rubby and Neifi Perez, who have come to the aid of victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti.

Rubby Perez is a leading merengue artist in the Dominican Republic and Neifi Perez is a former Major League infielder who played for the Rockies, Royals, Giants, Cubs and Tigers from 1996-2006.

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Shortly after the earthquake destroyed the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince and surrounding areas, Rubby Perez purchased a house in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo for purposes of establishing a hostel where injured victims could continue their recovery.

"When the earthquake hit and so many people had bone fractures, some of them were flown by helicopter to the Dominican so they could be treated at Dr. Dario Contreras Hospital," said Mota. "The purpose of the house that Rubby Perez bought was to take care of people released from the hospital, because the hospital needed those beds for new arrivals.

"The patients were given food and water and medication and I went to the house with my wife and visited with them and gave them support. It was great to talk to share with them and hear their stories and help build their confidence that everything would be OK.

"I think it was very nice of the Perez brothers to do this and I thank them for doing this for the people of Haiti and for allowing us to visit. It was a great privilege and honor. It was a great experience."

Mota and his wife, Margarita, through the Manny Mota Foundation, donated food for the patients on four trips to the house. The Manny Mota Foundation provides educational, health and recreational opportunities for the underprivileged, especially disadvantaged youth.

"Because we were so close to the earthquake, the Dominican Republic was one of the first countries that came to the aid of Haiti," said Mota. "The Dominican president went to Port-au-Prince right after the earthquake to see the president of Haiti and when the Haitian president came to the door, he was surprised to see our president there.

"But this is what you do when people are in need. That's why we have great respect for the Perez brothers, for what they are doing. They don't do it for the publicity. And I don't think you need to be rich to do that. It comes from your heart."

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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