Doc Hendley Interview at the Environmental Summit for High School Students 2012
by Austin Fisher
Q: What have you learned about yourself and the world through helping others?
A: About myself, I have learned that even someone like me can have an impact in the world. About the world, I have seen that many people are worse off in this world but live a simpler, happier life that I think is better than our own and it is hard to come home and see us, who have it all, just be miserable with our lives rather than just enjoy life like people who have less.
Q: Through this process that you have created, how have your ambitions changed and what is your vision now in the world for Wine to Water?
A: My ambitions have only grown to be that I want to help more and more people. In four years, I have helped 25,000 people around 13 countries through my organization and I only wish to see it grow. By five years, I want to have helped 1,000,000 people worldwide.
Q: Have you ever revisited any community that you have helped?
A: Yes, I do regularly go back to the countries I have helped, except for Darfur. Specifically I visit Uganda, Cambodia, Haiti, Peru and Ethiopia. I am planning on visiting Guatemala now that they are a country we have been able to help.
Q: What advise do you have for people who also feel like you did before about not being able to help anyone?
A: People think we need to learn in school before we can do anything, but we have all of the ability to act right now to make a difference. Nobody can tell you what you can and cannot do, and it only takes that first step. Never be afraid to take that step either, because you have the power to make changes if you take the opportunities right in front of you.
Q: Who or what has been your greatest inspiration?
A: My grandfather for sure. He had to stop playing for theSteelers because of money issues and supporting his family and instead he created his own business where he went and cleaned toilets on his hands and knees. Over the years he has turned that business into a multi-million dollar corporation of his own ambitions and dedication. He had always been the most humble and giving man and a true inspiration to me.
Q: What is your goal that you wish to see amounted to in your lifetime with this Wine to Water program?
A: Definitely to see us help 1,000,000 people around the world collectively by our fifth year with Wine to Water, but also by at least the end of my life if I am graced to become an old man, I wish to see the world’s water crisis eradicated entirely so we can move on to other important projects.
A couple of years ago, Cathy Green and Dr. John Wear, the Center for the Environment’s director of operations and executive director, respectively, decided to go to a café in Durham, NC, after a long day of interviews. They were sipping on coffee when a familiar face approached them to say hello: Summit alumnus and then-Duke University student John Hare-Grogg. John attended the National Environmental Summit in 2011, its first year, at a time when he still wasn’t sure where he saw his career going. However, he knew he was passionate about environmental issues, so upon learning about this opportunity in his home state of North Carolina, he included it in his summer plans. “I wasn’t totally sure what to expect,” he says. “It seemed like a great opportunity to go to Salisbury and learn about environmental issues and environmental leadership strategies for a few days. As it turned out, that’s exactly what happened; I had a fantastic experience.” As part of the Summit, in which students are…