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.