Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Lifestyles

July 9, 2012

Drops of life

Bluefield, Va., college student wants to build water well for needy village

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Water changes everything. It quenches thirst, cleanses away the dirt and grime, cools off a hot summer day and more importantly, it gives life to human beings. Without clean drinking water, someone, perhaps in foreign country or a small child, dies every day. Studies from one charity organization, Charity Water, states that 90 percent on the 30,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions occur in children under five.

Bluefield Va., native J.D. Taylor wants to change that statistic. Through the help of Charity Water, a non-profit organization designed to bring clean, safe drinking water to underprivileged people in developing countries, Taylor is helping to build a water well in a needy village. But that’s not all. The rising senior biology major has challenged his classmates, professors, family and friends to help with the project.

For as long as he can remember, Taylor, who plans to attend medical school after graduating from Bluefield College, has had a passion for missions and ministry. He has served on mission projects in South Africa, Namibia, Peru, Italy and New York City. He also has participated in street evangelism, after-school programs, praise and worship gatherings and countless other service projects through his church and BC.    

 After hearing during a leadership conference about the plight of people without clean, safe water in disadvantaged villages around the world, Taylor discovered Charity Water and how that organization is addressing the need.     

Charity Water funds a range of water technologies for those in need, including hand-dug wells, drilled wells, rehabilitations, spring protections, rainwater catchments and BioSand filters. To date, the charity has funded 6,185 projects, providing clean water to more than 2.5 million needy people in villages, clinics, schools and other facilities around the world.     

And, according to Charity Water, a clean water project within a village provides more than safe drinking water. It protects the people from disease and gives them the freedom they need to change their community. Diseases from unsafe water kill more people every year than all forms of violence. And, in Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year walking for clean water.     

“Having such a profound impact on not only a village’s water system, but their hygiene, life expectancy, income, educational opportunities and overall standard of living is a chance very few people get,” said Taylor. “What an incredible thought — knowing that we as a campus community were able to change an entire way of life for a group of people.”     

To help fund the well, which will cost $5,000, Taylor has created a fundraising portal on the Charity Water web site. And, he has distributed rice bowl piggy banks to students, encouraging them to save their spare change for the cause. He’s also planning a Mr. BC pageant, sports fundraising tournaments and a benefit concert. Taylor has partnered with the Alan Morefield Charitable Foundation, who have agreed to match his $5,000. Together, they could build two water wells.     

“The thought of providing not just one, but two villages in desperate need of water will be an amazing experience,” said Taylor. “Giving our campus the pride and satisfaction of knowing we’ve given such an incredible need to others, who otherwise wouldn’t have had their needs met.”    

He began the project last year with a small campaign. But more awareness and education about the matter has lead to talks with parents, David and Lisa Taylor, also of Bluefield, and the college community.

“We really want to get the school and town involved,” he said.

They won’t get to pick a village, he said. Instead, individual villages will have to petition the organization for a well. But once they receive the well, Taylor said those at home can watch the progress via Google Earth.

“The organization provides a GPS location, so you can watch as they build,” he said.

Taylor said his involvement in missions and his education at Bluefield College has helped him grow spiritually and strengthened his relationship with Christ.

“ ... I honestly feel no other campus could have enabled me to bring this thing into the light. Having the chance to do so much with something I’m passionate about is a huge deal. It’s now up to me, those involved in event planning, and the student body to help this passion become a reality,” Taylor said.     

Every time he grabs a bottle of water from the fridge, he is faced with the reality so many others battle on a daily basis in other countries.

“It is something to think about it,” he said. “We can walk into a building, get a drink from a water foundation and know its clean. They have to walk three hours and then boil water. Now, when I finish a bottle of water. I don’t let it go to waste.”

He said he never though about the effects of contaminated water. As a Appalachian Trail guide in Lynchburg, Va., he often drank straight from the stream. And in Africa, he drank from the Horn River.

“Water. Who would have thought water could cause so many problems in other countries,” he added. “We take it for granted here.”

For more information about Charity Water, visit www.chairtywater.org.

To contribute to Taylor’s project, visit www.mycharitywater.org/bluefield.

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