Posted: Jun 27, 2014 7:07 PM
Updated: Jun 30, 2014 2:58 PM
FALFURRIAS - A volunteer in Brooks County is setting out water bottles in the vast rangelands to help the illegal immigrants trekking through the region.
Brooks County is one of the major human smuggling corridors in South Texas. Countless bodies have been recovered from the inhospitable brush.
"Most people don't want people to die in their ranches," volunteer Eddie Canales said.
Canales began installing water stations six months ago. The stations consist of gallon-jugs filled with water and placed in a covered, 55-gallon, plastic drums.
"I check with the ranchers on a weekly basis to see where ... how much water is used and if they need water," Canales said.
Canales installed 15 water stations at various ranches.
"We are within ... a 25- or 30-mile radius from Falfurrias," Canales said.
Canales takes private donations of water to supply the stations.
"The fear is that more people will die. We will make an effort to respond to that in a proactive way," Canales said.
The bodies found in Brooks County are more than just numbers to Canales.
"People are lost ... they were left behind. Everybody has a story. Everybody is a human being, and they have their own individual story," Canales said.
Canales said he knows immigrants are using the water he leaves for them.
"I think we are having an impact, in terms of trying to save some lives," Canales said.
Cass Hernandez, a Brooks County rancher, said immigrants' bodies are found on a regular basis.
"It is unfortunate that some of them lose their life as they travel to their friends and relatives upstate," Hernandez said.
Hernandez said the watering stations on his property are a good idea.
"People can live without food, but they cannot live without water. It is very important to have water stations out here," he said.
Canales said he will do what he needs to during the summer months.
Canales said his goal is to set up 25 more watering stations.