Wine, water urge readers to action

Provided photo  Doc Hendley installs one of the many wells funded through his Wine to Water organization.
Provided photo
Doc Hendley installs one of the many wells funded through his Wine to Water organization.

From bartending in North Carolina to digging water wells in developing countries, Doc Hendley’s influence is shown in Wine to Water: A Bartender’s Quest to Bring Clean Water to the World.

Each year, Amarillo College officials choose a Common Reader. Hendley’s book was chosen due to its influences that urge students to get involved.

“We look for books that are inspiring and challenge us to be better people,” said Courtney Milleson, an assistant professor of advising and counseling. “We look for books that we can do events with. It’s a very multifaceted process.”

Hendley’s book focuses on his experience with the water crisis in developing countries. The author will visit campus Nov. 5 to discuss his book. He also will speak to the community and sign books at the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts.

To raise awareness of the water crisis, students and faculty can participate in a competition known as the watermark program.

“Judges will look at all the different events that have been hosted on campus, and the winning group gets a 30-minute Skype conversation with Doc Hendley after he’s already been to campus,” Milleson said. “And they also get dinner on us.”

Rochelle Fouts, an instructor in the child development associate degree program, said she uses Hendley’s novel in her First Year Seminar class.

“In my FYS class, they’re using it for their enrichment activity requirement,” Fouts said. “They’re planning a watermark event, and it’ll be a campuswide activity. I’m just looking forward to what the students do with it and see how they get involved.”

Along with classroom participation, student groups such as the Presidential Scholars will be involved in the watermark program. The scholars will host events, and 20 members will travel to Cambodia after May commencement.

The scholars will be accompanied for 11 days by Dr. Russell Lowery-Hart, AC vice president of academic affairs, and Honors Program coordinator Judy Carter.

“We will assist with digging water wells or other water purification programs,” Carter said in an email. “We may also be building latrines or homes. Of course, we look forward to meeting the people of Cambodia and learning both their way of life and their rich culture.”

Some students who already have read the book said it has changed their outlook on life.

“From the book, I learned that it’s a good time to get involved,” said Brianna Altamirano, a photography major. “Anyone can help, and now I know that there’s a lot of different ways to get involved.”

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