AROUND THE VALLEY

Emmaus coach is in a contest that could save lives

Green Hornets girls basketball coach Bill Dunn is trying to win a national contest, and, in turn, save thousands of lives

Emmaus girls basketball coach Bill Dunn understands there's more to life than winning games and hanging championship banners.

As the pastor of young adults at Faith Church in Allentown, Dunn preaches the importance of things beyond the X's and O's of everyday life.

Dunn, though, remains a competitor who likes to win and he's in a nationwide contest that could not only make him a big winner, but save thousands of lives in the process.

Dunn has a product called Humankind Water and it's involved in an American Idol-styled contest that allows people across the country to vote and help get it on the shelves at Walmart.

And if Humankind Water is sold at Walmart, Dunn said 100 percent of the profits will go toward the purchase of wells and filtration systems that will provide safe drinking water to impoverished countries around the world.

Dunn, who is involved in the project along with T.J. Foltz of Philadelphia, knows first-hand about how the lack of safe drinking water is a greater crisis than most of us know.

As one of the founders and directors of the Push the Rock organization, Dunn has traveled to close to 50 countries for missionary work and has seen the conditions and struggles of thousands of people.

He was there in earthquake-ravaged Haiti where more than 200,000 people died and Dunn said cholera, which is linked to lack of safe drinking water, is the problem that has lingered long after the cleanup began.

"The earthquake was devastating in itself and everybody has seen those pictures, but I was there a year later and what was crazy was that more people were dying because of the effects of poor drinking water than any other reason," Dunn said.

The numbers are staggering.

Dunn cited United Nations stats that say that approximately 10,000 kids worldwide die per day from issues related to lack of safe drinking water.

Bad water kills more children daily than AIDS, malaria, measles and warfare combined.

The Walmart contest is new, Dunn said, but Humankind Water was born about 21/2 years ago.

"T.J. Foltz brought this idea to me, I loved it and we have been putting a business plan together and trying to figure out how we can be part of the solution because this is something that is solvable," Dunn said.

"It's a curable disease, a crisis that we have the capability and technology to end. It's not about taking bottled water to them, it's about giving them the opportunity to create safe water systems."

Foltz and Dunn entered the Walmart "get it on the shelf" contest that originally had more than 4,300 entries. Their Humankind Water is now in the final 10.

The voting began on April 11 and continues through April 24 at http://getontheshelf.com.

"I consider it a tremendous honor to coach at Emmaus High School and I know that the majority of the girls I coach are not going on to play professional basketball," Dunn said. "But they can learn things about giving back to the community and being a part of a team. That's the most important things we can teach our kids through athletics.

"There are some really neat things happening. Dennis Ramella [the Emmaus athletic director] has been instrumental in the Coaches vs. Cancer program, for example. That's exciting. That's where my passion is. I want to win basketball games, but I also would love to see our kids become interested in saving lives."

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