DENVER – April 26, 2010 – Steven Spydell and his 18-year-old son, Matt, recently left their home in Independence, MO, for a five-month adventure hiking the entire Appalachian Trail (2,178 miles) in an effort to raise awareness for the importance of safe drinking water in the developing world and to raise donations for the charity of their choice, Water For People.
When asked why embark on such a journey, Matt responded, “I have come to be aware that worldwide there is a great discrepancy regarding access to something as basic as clean drinking water. This is my first step to reach out and do something that might ease that suffering and help those less fortunate, by assisting them to develop their own long-lasting water and sanitation solutions.”
The Spydell’s goal is to raise $10,000 for Water For People, a Denver-based international development organization that supports sustainable, safe drinking water and sanitation projects in developing countries. Steven Spydell, 56, learned about Water For People when he was the president for Missouri Water Environment Association, a group of water professionals that has taken on Water For People as a cause to support. At the launch of their journey in April, the elder Spydell said that they had already raised more than half of the funds.
The father-son-duo share a passion for hiking and have been preparing for their expedition for two years. Both Matt and Steven credit most of their outdoor knowledge to their experiences through the Boy Scouts. Matt is an Eagle Scout and Steven was a scout in the 1960’s. Steven, superintendent in the Independence Water Pollution Control Department, is taking a leave of absence and Matt graduated early from William Chrisman High School (Independence, MO) to clear their calendar.
Steven and Matt left on Monday, April 5th for their journey that started north of Atlanta. They carry everything they need, except for periodic stops to restock food. Throughout the trip, they will practice “Leave No Trace” ethics, meaning they will pack out everything they pack in and have a minimal impact on the trail, environment or wildlife. They will hike through 14 states and hope to reach central Maine by the third week of August.
To learn more about Water For People visit www.waterforpeople.org. For more information about the Spydells’ hike and to track their progress visit www.hikingforwater.org .
About Water For People
Founded in 1991, Water For People is an international, nonprofit humanitarian organization that focuses on long-lasting, safe drinking water resources and improved sanitation facilities in the developing world. While Water For People is in its 20th year of work it focuses not on creating a dependency on charity in the 11 countries it works in, but rather creating the ability of the local community to plan, build, finance, maintain and operate their own systems. The organization works in Africa, Asia, and Central and South America to show that its successful programs are adaptable around the world and can be replicated anywhere. In 2009 it served over 325,000 beneficiaries. Water for People is a charity of choice of the American water and wastewater community. For more information, visit www.waterforpeople.org.