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Hendley turns wine to water


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The Leone Cole Auditorium was full of students ranging from freshmen to transfers to seniors, and even Cocky, last Tuesday. They were all there to hear 2009 CNN Hero Doc Hendley.

At first glance, Hendley just looks like an average guy, in jeans, t-shirt, and right arm covered in tattoos. However, there is much more than meets the eye. Although Hendley says that he came from a family of "more than average" people, he claims that he was never really more than average.

He never thought he did one thing better than anyone else and just thought that he would blend in with the rest of the world.

Previously a bartender and musician, now an author and speaker, Doc Hendley is the founder of Wine to Water, an organization that is devoted to providing clean water to people around the world.

On center stage, Hendley spoke about his life as a whole, where he came from and where he has been. Speaking for a little more than an hour, he laid out important basic facts. For instance, the top four killers in the world are tuberculosis, malaria, HIV/AIDS, and in the number one spot is water.

There are 1.1 billion people in the world that don't have access to clean water. In some cases there are children that have to walk up to four hours to go fetch it.

First traveling in 2004 to Darfur, Sudan, Hendley has been to India, South Africa, Cambodia, Kenya and more.

Today he has projects in nine different countries and has saved countless lives with Wine to Water. It's all part of JSU's goal to spark a conversation and ultimately show that with heart and perseverance, anyone can accomplish anything. Hendley was not someone who went to college and knew what he wanted to do, and that's what makes him relatable to many students.

He told them, "The key is to surround yourself with people who push you more than you push yourself. I just decided to treat everyone I met like people. That was the problem: no one ever treated them like humans. No one cared."

One freshman stated, "I think it's pretty cool to read a book, knowing it's all fact, and then get to meet the guy that wrote it. Amazing."

Hendley's book Wine to Water is a chronological account of the encounters of the world, including tribal warfare and natural disasters. The book also features the highs and lows of learning his passion for helping.

At the end of Tuesday night's event, President Meehan said, "I hope my students find passion for life. I hope they find what gives them drive to succeed in life."

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