One Man’s Quest to Rescue Children

By Doug Fine, Special to The Christian Science Monitor
Original published Date: DECEMBER 23, 1997

Considering she was only seven years old, Sonia Xinoco remembers a great deal about the night that defined her life: Men with guns rampaged through her home, houses were torched, her parents and 20 others were killed. Then, amid the wailing of the survivors, a gringo in a Jeep scooped her up and took her and her brothers away.

Fifteen years later, Ms. Xinico, a small woman with expressive eyes, is in her last year of law school. She credits the American who picked her up from the rubble in 1982 with helping make her dream of being a lawyer, almost unheard of for an indigenous woman here, possible.

“It’s not just me he’s helped,” Xinico says, “There are hundreds of kids who are getting educated now in Guatemala because of Patrick [Atkinson].”