ABA Banking Journal - May 2014 - (Page 44)

first person KEN WOOD Where pure water is pure gold Maryland bank director brings safe drinking water to Africa Clear, cold, clean water-you'll be craving a glass of it before you finish this article. Imagine walking five or more miles a day to a crocodile-infested river or a stinking, scummy pond to get your daily water for everything from drinking to washing. Imagine that water potentially killing your children, or leaving them or you blind from disease. That is what faces many people in rural Africa. Now, imagine that pure flowing water could be had-if you could sink a well 30 feet. Bank director Ken Wood has been personally helping to bring that about in Ghana and, more recently, in Tanzania. Wood has been a water-well driller in Well driller Ken Wood (in blue shirt) has helped bring pure water to so many Maryland and Delaware for decades, running Ghanaians that he was ceremoniously named "Chief Living Water." a family business and sinking thousands of estate he owned, and he channeled wells. In 2006, his Lifetime Well Drilling, Denton, Md., had an old truck-mountfunds to the project from winnings of ed drill rig to sell. A Pennsylvania-based charity wanted to buy it to drill water harness horses he owned. wells for areas in Ghana where it did missionary work. Wood decided to simply Wood has borrowed for some purdonate it. chases, and he also accepts donaBut that wasn't the end of the story. Actually it was just the beginning. tions, which have chiefly come from The charity came back to Wood and asked if he could come to Africa to show Provident State Bank and his fellow Ghanaians how to work the rig. He wasn't so keen on that, says Wood. He was bank directors. very busy. Wood has no regrets about what But two weeks later, Wood, who serves on the board of Provident State Bank, he's sold and what he's spent. "Once Preston, Md., attended the Maryland Bankers Association annual convention. you get over there and see the devAn inspirational guest speaker from Ghana spoke of his life back in Africa and astation, and what life there is really told how precious water was to his people. It changed Wood's mind. like, having things will not make you "When God rings the phone, you'd better pick up," says Wood. He went to happy," he says. Over time, he intends Ghana for what would be the beginning of a series of water drilling trips. Today, to have every grandchild over there at he and other members of his family and friends travel to Ghana or Tanzania four least once to witness what he's seen, times a year. Wood's efforts have resulted in 1,130 water wells thus far. "so they see how good they have it." Wood's first trip ultimately involved his donating not only the original truck For himself, in spite of being 70, rig, but additional vehicles, equipment, and boring supplies. That first exposure Wood intends to keep at it, drilling as showed him just how much suffering bad water caused. well as training the natives to operate Wood's commitment to African wells has grown from that beginning. All the the equipment. drilling equipment, piping, storage tanks, and hand pumps that keep the water "I'm going," maintains Wood, flowing come from Wood's operation. Government officials organize village "until I croak." water committees, typically comprising local women, who supervise the well and -Steve Cocheo, executive editor and pool funds toward pump repairs. digital content manager But Wood has personally borne much of the cost of producing the wells in the Learn more about Wood's projects first place. As this became a personal mission, he sold a vintage Thunderbird at www.wellsforghana.org that had originally been meant as the beginning of a car collection. He sold real 44 | ABA BANKING JOURNAL | MAY 2014 http://www.wellsforghana.org

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - May 2014

Chairman's View
Editor's Column
The Economy
Bank Notes
ABABJ Online
Picture This
Who will fill the chair?
Pass the Aspirin
Midsize Standouts
Doing well by doing good
Tech Topics
Compliance Inbox
ABA At Your Service
First Person

ABA Banking Journal - May 2014

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