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Last Word – Lives Transformed Through Water: Bringing Infrastructure to Honduras with World Vision

In its simplest form, water is life.

We are all blessed to be part of an industry that at the end of the day is giving life to the communities in which we all serve. We are on the frontlines of addressing aging utilities across America, community after community, but we also know that aging utilities are a blessing when so many in other parts of the world are still simply trying to get infrastructure to access clean drinking water.

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This spring I had the truly humbling opportunity to visit a place that made me reconsider how I think about water, community, and what it means to bring the two together.

Florida, Honduras is a small but vibrant village of 500 people, nestled deep in the mountainous interior of an impoverished country. Honduras is rich in spring- and mountain-fed water systems that can support its population, but many villages don’t have the resources to bring water into their communities. Instead, girls walk miles and miles every day to get water and bring it home for cooking, cleaning, and drinking. In too many cases, they spend all their time retrieving water, meaning these girls forgo an education entirely in the daily, never-ending pursuit of hydration.

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Today, thanks to the combined efforts of World Vision, Vortex Companies, and Worldwide Power Products LLC, Florida, Honduras has a fresh drinking water system for residents. By piping clean water directly to their homes and school, we’ve empowered those young people to go to school, get an education, and help lift themselves and their families out of a cycle of poverty.

It was both a proud moment and humbling experience. I grew up in the waterworks industry, and I’ve always taken pride in knowing that at the end of the day, my business makes the communities we live in cleaner, safer and healthier. But on this trip to Honduras, I was able to see how families were impacted by our gift, meet the children on their way to school, and feel the real meaning of my contribution on a human level.

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World Vision is best known for its child sponsorship program, which empowers donors to contribute a small but steady amount to uplift children and their communities in meaningful ways. Its faith-inspired initiatives span many issues, including clean water, education, healthcare, nutrition, and jobs for parents. Founded as a missionary organization, today it works in over 100 countries, and employs over 34,000 people—many from the very regions it serves. In addition to the individually funded child sponsorship efforts, it also partners with corporations like Vortex Companies.

I first learned about World Vision during a trip with my Young Presidents Organization (YPO) chapter last year, where I was introduced to their mission. I decided to join forces with Will Perry, founder and CEO of Worldwide, to help World Vision bring a freshwater project to the Village of Florida.

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Our initial contribution established reliable running water for the community, but we’re not stopping there. After witnessing firsthand the positive impact World Vision has made, Vortex is committed to continuing its support of their mission long-term through a company-wide sponsorship program. As an organization dedicated to improving water and sewer infrastructure, we want to give back through the World Vision platform, so that we may collectively help others in areas less fortunate than the communities that we live in. We’re making it easy for Vortex employees to participate and contribute in a multitude of ways, rolling out a company-wide initiative to continue what we started. In the short time that we have been involved, we are already sponsoring 40+ families and growing. Each Vortex division around the globe will be working to further promote awareness within the company and in the surrounding community, ensuring a sustainable future for our work with World Vision.

This initiative with World Vision is a massive, impactful step for Vortex, but it’s in line with what we’ve always pledged to do: provide effective, accessible water and wastewater solutions to those who need it. After all, Vortex teams around the world work on restoring water and wastewater systems every day. But providing this same service to a place that has no system — no infrastructure at all — was a humbling experience, one that I hope more people in this industry will have the opportunity to live.

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Companies like Vortex are critical to the mission of World Vision. Consider whether your water or wastewater organization can step up and help change lives, too, whether by sponsoring a child or supporting one of the non-profit’s many community impact platforms. Learn more: youtube.com/watch?v=SIlKlXPYH6w.

Mike Vellano is CEO of Vortex Companies.

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