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.
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.
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.
Doc Hendley is setting a compelling example of the value of hard work and a vision to help others. He has taken a common place object and used it to mobilize communities in America to help suffering communities around the world. He is truly an exceptional North Carolinian and I want to praise him for his dedication to serving needy and suffering people. He has taken personal risks to do the hard work of providing water and clean water education in far flung locations around the globe.
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.