Laguna Niguel, CA: On Sunday, May 15, 2016 at Laguna Niguel Regional Park, Wells of Life held its first inaugural 5k/1K “Run 4 Water” Family/Community fundraiser. It was “a runaway success," reported the charity’s founder and CEO, Nick Jordan. The well-attended event had over 600 runners, walkers and participants. “This event was fully underwritten by corporate sponsorship and to date has raised over $132,000 to provide clean water for the rural communities of Uganda. l 100% of all funds raised will go to funding water wells in Uganda. The overhead and expense component of the charity’s operation is funded by The Legacy Founder’s Group, who make multi-year pledges; so that funds donated to a well go directly and solely to that purpose. This is one of the founding commitments that make Wells of Life a stand out organization in Orange County”, says President Pete Callahan.
"We finance and maintain these wells at a cost of $6,000, and each well program is sponsored by a specific group of people. A plaque representing the donor or their designee is placed on each well. Wells of Life provides the sponsoring group with the GPS coordinates and a collage of photographs of their specific well, including a close up of the dedication plaque with the words that they choose chiseled into the marble. We expect these hand-pump wells to last 20 to 25 years, producing hundreds of gallons of clean water every day to the communities, churches and schools where they are located,” explains Jordan.
Racing Teams made up of families, businesses, schools and churches enjoyed a day of friendly running competition, vendor gifts, opportunity drawings, and fun activities for the kids and adults. “Our goal is to join our families and community in spreading awareness, as well as teaming up to help solve the world water crisis. If each person plays a part, our success can be duplicated and grown each year. Children, their families, neighbors and co-workers can team up for a day of philanthropy and fun”, said Michelle Jordan, race organizer and Wells Of Life Advisory Board Member. Run Racing, manager of the Dana Point Turkey Trot and Long Beach Marathon, was hired to manage the Run 4 Water event. This year the event will finance at least 22 wells for communities in need in rural Uganda, estimated Jordan. One days community involvement creates a measurable gift that brings Life and Hope to many.
Pete Callahan, President of Wells of Life, stated that Wells of Life has been in existence for seven years and has funded 191 wells prior to this event, serving approximately 191,000 people. “One out of five children die before the age of five in rural Uganda because of the effects of contaminated water. That’s one easily preventable death every 21 seconds – and untold numbers are sick, girls can’t attend school as they and their mothers spend their lives carrying contaminated water back to their villages from contaminated surface water holes. The economy can never get on its feet as a result. It’s a vicious but easily breakable cycle of poverty and despair. The key is clean water, which is present in great abundance; sometimes as close as a dozen yards away, but straight down,” said Callahan.
Participants were asked to register as a runner, walker or simply a donor, with the option of joining approximately 40 different designated “teams” of any size, that also sought to raise the necessary six thousand dollars to finance a well. At least 16 of those teams raised that amount or more. The Top Fundraising Teams were Servite High School, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Custom Comfort Mattress, Diocese of Orange Pastoral Center, CTSC Law, Team Linzmeier, and Jordan Property Team; followed closely by Concentrus, The Martin Family, Santucci/Heffron, Brown and Streza LLP, Catholics at Work, Team Shanafelt, and White House Catering. Callahan said that a number of other teams were easily within completion distance of the necessary $6,000 cost of a well; including Morgan Stanley, Palmieri/Tyler, Team Kids Give Hope, McCutcheon Water Warriors, One Step Services, The Gilbert Well, Team St. Thomas More Society of OC, Team Run With Angels, Rosary High School PALS, Regency Real Estate Brokers, and Santa Margarita Catholic High School. The top individual fundraisers were Nathaniel Offenheiser of “Team Kids Give Hope”, Jeff McCutcheon of “McCutcheon Water Warriors”, and Sandy Barragan with One Step Services”.
The Top Race Winners were as follows:
MEN: 1st Place: Aaron Perry, Age 24, Team Lions For Water, Time: 17.20 - 2nd Place: Erick Garcia, Age 18, Team Servite High School, Time: 19.02 - 3rd Place: Eamon Morris, Age15, Team Servite High School, Time 19.11.
WOMEN: 1st Place: Amy Vollebregt, Age 16, Team Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Time 20.18 – 2nd Place: Haley Collins, Irvine, Age 16, Time: 20.56 – 3rd Place: Sherrill Dinger, Age 16, Team Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Time: 21.33.
The corporate sponsors covering the cost of the fundraiser included Depomed Corporation, Custom Comfort Mattress, Pacific Mercantile Bank, CTSC Law, Nestle Water, Road Runner Sports, Dr. Paul Stately Pacific Total Body Wellness, Palmieri Tyler, Oregon Catholic Press, Whole Foods Markets, Laguna Niguel Dental, Lexus Lace Up Running Series, Southwest Medical Resources, Body Wise Fitness, Arrowmac Recruiting, Morgan Stanley, The Dot, and One Step Services.
In notable attendance was State Senator John Moorlach (R, 37), introduced by Pasquale Talarico, Director of Campus Ministries at Servite Catholic High School. Nick Jordan thanked the City Council and the Mayor of Laguna Niguel, Laurie Davies, for their support of the event. Mayor Pro Tem Jerry Slusiewicz was also present and discussed the city’s involvement in this local charity. The National Anthem was sung by recording star and motivational speaker Renee Bondi, and the invocation was offered by the Wells of Life Chaplain, Dr. Dan Vanderford. Videos were shown including one made by local water heroes Nathaniel and Marianna Offenheiser, and Ugandan villagers cheering as they received water wells for the first time. .
“It was a day to remember where over 20,000 men, women and children were blessed by the gift of clean water,” stated Wells of Life Founder/CEO, Nick Jordan. “The planning for next year's event is already underway.” He urged anyone interested to look at the charity’s website at www.wellsoflife.org, or call (855) 935-5763 for more information. Donations can still be made to any well teams until June 30th by going to: https://www.crowdrise.com/WellsofLife100Wells5k .
SEE GALLERY BELOW OR CLICK HERE TO SEE PICTURES IN THE PHOTO GALLERY