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News - 2002


Reverend Gayl Fowler Receives the Vern Haverstick Groundwater Hero Award

Reverend Gayl Fowler of Burgess, Virginia, has been selected to receive the 2002 Vern Haverstick Groundwater Hero Award. The Groundwater Foundation established the Groundwater Hero Award in 1996 to showcase groundwater protection activities by the unsung, drinking water in private wells in Lancaster and Northumberland counties of Virginia. In accordance with this mission, the committee has repaired approximately 300 shallow wells to protect them yet heroic, efforts of community residents. The award was named in honor of the first recipient, Vern Haverstick of El Paso, Texas, who exemplified the goals of the award through innovative, substantive achievement.

In 1989, Reverend Fowler in cooperation with the Salvation Army and the Interfaith Service Council founded the SAIF Water Committee to assist rural residents in finding and developing sources of clean drinking water and indoor plumbing while working to clean up and protect from surface contaminants, brought safe water to 166 homes through new wells and hook ups, repaired and replaced failing septic systems which pose a threat to the Chesapeake Bay, and introduced alternative wastewater technology to the area. The committee has also conducted wastewater research including construction of wetlands, sand filters, and Irish peat systems. The committee has also spread the word about the importance of protecting private wells through radio, news articles, exhibits, songs, on-site demonstrations and its web site www.saifwater.org.

In 2002, Reverend Fowler and the SAIF Water Committee assisted a professor from Kosovo in developing a safe water program and inspired church leaders in Kenya to begin digging wells to replace the use of river water. Reverend Fowler also provides consultation on wells for five additional counties and state conferences, alerts urban doctors to rural water conditions which may have an impact on health problems and treatments, and assists patients who are asked to investigate their well water as a potential source of an illness. In addition, Reverend Fowler has testified before the county supervisors, the Virginia Senate Committee on Agriculture, and the Commission on the Future of Virginia's Environment regarding the state's buffer zone for biosolids applications near wells.

This article and other groundwater-award articles can be found at the Groundwater Foundation's website: http://www.groundwater.org/Awards/2002_award_winners.htm


Youth Work Camp

Youth WorkCamp volunteers from the Catholic Diocese of Arlington amazed everyone as they rolled in for a week of volunteer housing repairs in June.

The pictures below show some of the projects done in Lancaster and Northumberland Counties.

SAIF Water was glad to help make arrangements. They were an enormous blessing, particularly to some elderly people who had no means to make much needed repairs.

WorkCamp youth under the supervision of licensed contractors and adult sponsors built 3 handicap ramps, put roof coating on trailers, installed new storm windows and screen doors, built a screen porch, installed a shower, brought picnic tables for two families, replaced floors, installed insulation,siding and skirting, and did roof repairs.

At every home they made friends who were sorry to see them leave.

They also brought many donations such as dryers, stoves and bedspreads which will be distributed through our Interfaith warehouse to families in need.







Building a new ramp.



The group taking a break.


New ramp




Caulking storm windows.

Skirting a trailer home.



Cleaning up

Cementing a roof





During the same week in June, a New Jersey CAVE group was also in the area for volunteer housing repairs. Here are some of their photos.