Doc  Hendley

Doc Hendley

Doc Hendley was named one of the Top 10 CNN Heroes for 2009 (chosen from over 9,000 applicants by a panel of judges including Gen. Colin Powell, Whoopi Goldberg, Ted Turner and Sir Elton John). He is the epitome of the individual who has made a difference. Tens of thousands of people around the world have clean drinking water they did not have before an idea popped into the head of this "tattooed keg-tapper" musician's head. Hendley realized that just by using his ability to bartend and create relationships with people, he might be able to help the problem. At the bars where he worked, he started raising money to fight this water epidemic the best way he knew how, by pouring wine and playing music.

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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 started the organization and label "Wine to Water" to help more than one billion people on the planet who go without clean drinking water. In the United States, we just can't imagine that a glass of water could kill us. But Doc couldn't stop thinking about it. And so this bartender from North Carolina decided to meet one of the world's greatest challenges. He's raised enough money to dig wells in Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Cambodia and an orphanage in Peru. So when you order that wine, and I know you will, don't forget to toast Doc, a hero who had the courage to meet a challenge and believe that one person really can change this world."

    - Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Actress/Environmentalist (transcribed from CNN Heroes 2009 broadcast)

    "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!'"

    - Site Southeast

    "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.

    - U.S. Chamber BCLC Global Conference

    "Thanks again for participating in the Spectrum Health event last week. We have been hearing nothing but great comments about your presentation. Several people have approached me and said that it was the best keynote we have ever had for this event! Thanks again for such a powerful, motivational presentation! It was a pleasure working with you.

    - Spectrum Health