Kayaking To WEFTEC® 2014

November 13, 2014

Featured, Participate

Husband and wife team surpass their Water For People fundraising goals
 
From left Linda and Gary De Kock kyak down the Mississippi River to raise money for Water For People (Denver). Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

From left, Linda and Gary De Kock kayak down the Mississippi River to raise money for Water For People (Denver). Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

Traveling to WEFTEC® 2014 took on an entirely new meaning for Gary and Linda De Kock. On July 19, the duo began a 70-day journey kayaking down the Mississippi River to raise money for Water For People (Denver).

As part of the Mississippi River Voyage fundraiser, the husband and wife team traveled a total of 3686 km (2291 mi), starting at Lake Itasca in Minnesota and ending in New Orleans, to attend the Water Environment Federation (WEF; Alexandria, Va.) annual technical exhibition and conference held there.

The De Kock’s spent 70 days kayaking 3686 km (2291 mi) as part of the Mississippi River Voyage fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Alisun De Kock.

The De Kock’s spent 70 days kayaking 3686 km (2291 mi) as part of the Mississippi River Voyage fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Alisun De Kock.

Gary De Kock, a WEF member since 1982, has chaired the Michigan Water Environment Association Water For People committee since 2008. The committee has hosted fundraisers at the association level, but he saw an opportunity to expand these efforts to the national level by connecting it to WEFTEC, Gary De Kock said.

“We were on the water every day from July 19 to Sept. 26,” Gary De Kock said. “The intent was to use this platform to bring the work of Water For People to the attention of a larger number of WEF members in order to strengthen both organizations,” he added.

 So far, the De Kocks have raised $16,189 for Water For People.  Photo courtesy of Mark Geerlings.

So far, the De Kocks have raised $16,189 for Water For People. Photo courtesy of Mark Geerlings.

The De Kocks helped organize an annual bike ride held during WEFTEC 2013 and WEFTEC 2014 to support Water For People. They plan to help with the next ride scheduled for WEFTEC 2015.

“Still, we wanted to do more,” Gary De Kock said.

While the voyage down the Mississippi River was demanding, the effort was well worth it, he said. So far their efforts have raised $16,189, and this amount continues to grow. And anyone still can contribute.

The De Kocks arrived in New Orleans on Sept. 26. Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

The De Kocks arrived in New Orleans on Sept. 26. Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

“We surpassed our fundraising goal,” Gary De Kock said. “We kept our promise to our supporters and made it safely to river mile zero. It was worth it mostly because of the excitement with which friends and colleagues have embraced the voyage and the connection to Water For People.”

After arriving in New Orleans, the De Kocks met WEFTEC attendees in the Water For People booth on the exhibit floor. Also, more than 350 people attending Water For People’s Big Easy Bash on Sept. 29, had an opportunity to meet the De Kocks and discuss their trip. “We were able to meet more of the people who support Water for People [at WEFTEC],” Gary De Kock said.

While attending WEFTEC, the De Kocks were able to talk to attendees about their voyage at the Water For People’s Big Easy Bash on Sept. 29 and in the Water For People booth on the exhibit floor. Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

While attending WEFTEC, the De Kocks were able to talk to attendees about their voyage at the Water For People’s Big Easy Bash on Sept. 29 and in the Water For People booth on the exhibit floor. Photo courtesy of Gary De Kock.

“We especially want to help members connect with their local Member Association Water For People committees,” Gary De Kock said. “One of the best ways to understand the value of water is to see how communities around the world are held back because of the lack of clean water and proper sanitation.”

 

 

Jennifer Fulcher, WEF Highlights

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