Harlingen Couple Leading Park’s Safety Efforts as 1st Responders
by Rocio Villalobos
Ed and Karen Hargrove moved down to Harlingen’s Tropic Winds RV Resort from Kansas in 2014 and quickly immersed themselves in activities to help serve their neighbors.
“We first came in a motor home and planned to be here in the winter then check out different areas the following year to see what we like best,” Karen said. “But people were so nice, we never made it out of the Valley.”
They both volunteer with the Park’s 1st Responder group, with Karen, a retired registered nurse, serving as the chair.
“As 1st Responders, we need to set a good example for everyone else,” said Karen, describing how she always uses a mask and personal protective equipment when leaving her home, in hopes of encouraging others to do the same to keep themselves and their neighbors safe.
“Our group is so supportive,” she said. “We’ve had a couple of auctions and were able to buy supplies--masks, gowns, face shields, gloves--to make sure we protect ourselves.”
The group was formed six years ago and includes other members with medical backgrounds ranging from nurses to EMTs to firefighters.
“Anyone going to have contact with someone on a call has CPR training every two years,” Karen said.
Ed also volunteers with the group and helps with other crucial tasks, such as making sure the gate is open for the ambulance to enter and guiding them to the individual in need in the 500-plus-site park.
“It’s not just first responders that help out,” he said. “When people move in and out, everyone is always there to volunteer and help each other out. That’s just the way the Park is, like a big family.”
Additionally, Ed serves as chair for the Park’s annual Encore Games, which feature 18 different competitions, including swimming, pickleball, bocce, and more.
“It takes a good month and a half to plan, and we have a really good turnout nowadays,” he said.
With the pandemic, a few games will not take place this year, but he and other volunteers are planning to conduct certain games in a safer manner.
“COVID has definitely put a strain on everybody, but we’ve learned to do a lot of things electronically to stay in communication,” Ed said. “We’re all an older group, so we watch each other and take care of each other.”