Rolla runner participates in 200-mile relay for clean water
According to the World Health Organization, every day 4,000 children worldwide die from preventable diseases caused by using unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation and hygiene, and in Africa, only 50 percent of the population has access to clean water.
One Rolla man is on a mission to bring an end to these dismal statistics.
In August, Damon Jones was invited to take part in The Hood to Coast Relay - the longest relay race in the world.
"It is about a 200-mile relay from Mount Hood, Oregon, to the coast of Seaside, Oregon. It takes around 32 hours to run straight through," said Jones who works for the local probation and parole office in Rolla.
The annual race draws close to 16,000 runners. Jones was part of a team of 12 runners racing for Team World Vision.
World Vision is a humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.
Each runner was expected to raise $10,000 through sponsorships. Jones has raised close to $12,000 for this cause.
"A lot of donations came from my hometown of Crocker," Jones told the Daily News, "as well as a number of very generous local businesses."
Jones explained that World Vision does more for clean water projects than any other organization on earth.
"Every 30 seconds someone drinks clean water from a project from a World Vision project funded by one of their running events," he said.
Jones and his family are no strangers to Africa. He and his wife, Juli, along with their children spent 11 years working as missionaries in the Ivory Coast. They worked on building churches, training leaders and helping with medical needs.
According to Jones, clean water is one change that can have the most dramatic and rapid effect in a person's life in these developing countries.
"They've proven that if you provide clean water to impoverished communities, it transforms the education opportunity and the economic situation by 25 to 30 percent," said Jones.
To learn more about World Vision or to support Damon Jones, visit www.worldvision.org.