Doc Hendley is proof that anyone, even a tattooed keg-tapper, can cure what ails the world.
In 2003 Doc Hendley dreamed up the concept of Wine To Water while bartending and playing music in nightclubs around Raleigh, North Carolina. In January of 2004 he held his first fundraiser and by August was living in Darfur, Sudan installing water systems for victims of the government-supported genocide.
When Doc returned home in 2005, the haunting memories of what he had seen in Darfur drove him to continue growing the organization he had started only two years earlier. And in 2007, after working two jobs and volunteering his time for over three years, Wine To Water became an official 501 (c)(3) and Doc’s dream finally became a reality.
Hendley’s work aims to help the 1.1 billion people worldwide who lack access to clean water, a figure estimated by the World Health Organization. Nearly two-thirds of that group lives in Asia. In sub-Saharan Africa, 42 percent of the population lives without yard taps, household connections or other improvements to sanitize water. Unclean water is the number one killer of children in the world. Water borne illnesses kill far more children the HIV/AIDS and Malaria combined. Every 15 seconds a child dies from unclean water.
Doc Hendley was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2009 (chosen by a panel of judges including Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner and Sir Elton John).
“There is one thing that rings true every time I get the pleasure of hearing Doc Hendley speak—his passion comes through and hits you like nothing you’ve ever experienced in your lifetime. It’s not just the way he interacts with the audience, a sort of down home person that you seem to already know even though you don’t, but it’s the message about improving who we are as people each and every day, and helping those who have difficulty helping themselves because of places they live in or the circumstances of their country. Doc brings that message of hope and seems to naturally lift every person out of their comfort chair and into the wilds of Africa or the devastation in Haiti right alongside him. You feel everything that he feels and see everything that he saw. We are just enamored to be part of his world in a small way and hoping to work with him to better our world in a meaningful way.”—Rich Henning, United Water, 2011 North American Managers Conference
His book, “Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World” (Avery:Penguin, Jan 2012), is a captivating story of an ordinary bartender who’s changing the world through clean water.
Doc Hendley raised the roof at TEDxAsheville on August 29. In a forum focusing on world (and self) changing ideas, Doc's inspiration was contagious. I heard time and again from individuals shifting their midsets about their own potentials because of Doc's humility and passion. His definitive message that even the most "extraordinarily regular" among us has the power within themselves to make a difference offered a new brand of possibilities to many of the nearly 500 people at our conference. He is an asset to the world, and a role model for everyone.
His story is amazing and inspirational, yet a tad frightening at the beginning(Darfur!). His use of imagery really brings his spoken story to life for his audience. What a humble and genuine man -- for someone who has experienced and accomplished so much in the humanitarian field, his modesty is remarkable. In a room of hundreds of corporate executives and government and NGO officials, he easily captivated attention because his commitment to the cause is real, his passion is clear, and his speaker presence is engaging. It was a pleasure to get to talk to him more during the event reception, where Wine to Water wine was served.
Doc Hendley is the epitome of the individual who has made a difference. He never planned to do this but when he saw a need, he saw that he had a talent to actually direct efforts at improving that need. As a result literally tens of thousands of people around the world now have clean drinking water they did not have before Doc Hendley came along. I am honored quite frankly to have Doc Hendley graduate as a graduate of NC State.
Doc was not only charming and modest, he is one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard. He takes you on an emotional journey to communities whose living conditions are unimaginable to most of us, and his ability share his vision, his passion, his commitment and his excitement for his global mission has ignited a flame of passion in our membership as well. We have had the pleasure of Doc's company at all of our events since that one last winter, and we have united behind him and his efforts to make a difference in the world. We are better people as the result of knowing Doc... We think Doc is indeed a "HERO"!
Doc Hendley is an incredibly passionate speaker. He spoke to at Watauga High School in Boone, North Carolina on April 20th about his story and his organization, Wine to Water. Doc reached each person on a personal level with his shocking statistics about the water crisis coupled with his very real photos. This is something that most people know little about, but he did a great job of demonstrating its devastating effects on over 1 billion people worldwide. He was very relatable and down-to-earth, an average guy encouraging the youth to pursue their dreams. Doc, as always, was adamant that the youth should feel empowered and capable of doing anything—something that he didn’t always feel in school. He was very encouraging to the students, urging them to take action and fight against the water crisis alongside him. I’ve heard Doc speak a few times before, but never had I seen him so confident, excited, and ready to inspire so many students. He kept the attention of each and every student throughout his entire speech, answered a lot of questions about himself and Wine to Water, and, in the end, received a standing ovation from the audience. Doc has an amazing story and Wine to Water is a great organization that’s helping save lives. He was successful in spreading awareness about the water crisis to the youth in our area and helping them to realize that they can make a difference. Doc is compassionate, dedicated, humble, and inspirational—I wholeheartedly recommend him as a speaker.