A retired couple with health issues in Seaside, Oregon, no longer has to pump water for washing from a nearby river, or drive 40 miles to get drinking water from a spring, following the donation of a new water well through Hometown H2O—a domestic water program that’s working to bring access to clean and sustainable water to the more than 1.5 million Americans without it.
Hometown H2O was launched in late 2019 as a result of a partnership between The Chris Long Foundation‘s Waterboys initiative and Xylem Inc., a global water technology manufacturer dedicated to solving the world’s most critical water challenges, along with the Water Well Trust. The new well, which will provide Steve and Lana Gleason (both aged 69) with potable water directly to their home, marks Hometown H2O’s second well donation project this year.
“The fact that senior Americans with underlying health conditions must get usable water from two different locations on a regular basis—especially during a global pandemic—should not exist; however, issues like these are far more prevalent than people realize,” says Chris Long, two-time Super Bowl champion and founder and chairman of the Chris Long Foundation. “We recognize the great need for basic access to clean, safe water in this country, which is why Hometown H2O was created in partnership with one of the world’s leading water tech companies—to make as big of an impact as quickly as possible.”
Steve Gleason suffers from COPD and heart issues, which make the already arduous treks to the river and spring even more dangerous than they already are. Combined with the risks that COVID-19 bring to the elderly and immunocompromised, the potential outcomes of not having direct access to running water are severe.
Even with a recent replacement, the Gleason’s river pump is unreliable and requires ongoing repairs. Silt from the river flow builds up in the pump, causing it to fail and forcing the couple to use non-potable water collected from a rain barrel. The most recent failure resulted in a lack of running water to the home for two months, prompting the Gleason’s to heed a neighbor’s recommendation to apply for assistance through the Water Well Trust, a nonprofit partner of Xylem and Hometown H2O.
Xylem has donated Goulds Water Technology brand equipment and local distributor partner Mitchell Lewis & Staver Co. coordinated its discounted installation through pump installer McMullen Water Systems and water well driller McMullen Drilling Corp. of Portland, Oregon. Waterboys also hosted a Zoom meeting between Chris Long’s brother and retired NFL player Kyle Long (with special appearance from dad, Howie Long) and the Gleason’s for further insight into the clean water crisis in the United States and how Hometown H2O is helping to mitigate it. Video clips of Chris Long’s take on the project are included in the b-roll link.
Additionally, Mitchell Lewis & Staver is making a $10,000 donation to the Waterboys program through Xylem Watermark, which is matching the donation 1:1 for a total of $20,000. Waterboys will then use the funds for its domestic initiatives to bring clean water to communities in need.
“This type of opportunity to collaborate with these premier organizations and make a real difference in people’s lives doesn’t come along every day,” says David Brown, CEO of Mitchell Lewis & Staver. “It wasn’t a question for us to extend our support of the Water Well Trust, Xylem Watermark, and Hometown H2O missions beyond providing the Gleason’s access to water.”
As is customary with all Hometown H2O projects, Xylem’s corporate social responsibility program Watermark, provides volunteers who conduct various improvement projects on the property beyond the well donation. Taking social distancing precautions amid Coronavirus concerns, local Xylem employees joined forces with Mitchell Lewis & Staver employees to help build the well house for the new water well, helping ensure its longevity for the Gleason’s access to water.
“One thing no one should have to worry about, especially during such uncertain times, is having access to clean, safe water,” says Susan O’Grady, director, Americas Building Services & Agriculture, Xylem. “But, in fact, there is a very real water crisis in the U.S., which is being further compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, our unique position in the water sector in coordination with our national and global partners, gives us the great honor and responsibility to address these water challenges swiftly.”
Xylem and Waterboys, along with nonprofit partner Water Well Trust, seek to raise awareness about domestic water issues, including that more 1.5 million people in the United States lack access to clean, safe drinking water at home. Working in coordination with Watermark and the company’s Goulds Water Technology brand, this partnership delivers ongoing water well projects to provide rural communities with reliable, safe water access, which can lead to better overall health and improved quality of life.