Sometimes life just makes me smile. Let me explain:
I am writing to ask you for help in a Memorial Effort to Honor SSG Anthony N. Warigi.
Most of you know of the tragic loss of our son-in-law, Tony on April 5, 2011. Tony was born and raised near Nairobi, Kenya. He moved to the United States and became a US citizen while serving his first tour of duty in Iraq. Tony served with the WI National Guard and US Army from July 2001 until his death in April, 2011. He served both in Iraq and Afghanistan. He spent 37 months over the course of his last 5-1/2 years in the "Sand Box" as he affectionately called it. Tony died while on leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan, in Nairobi, Kenya April 5, 2011. Tony is survived by his wife Emily, his daughter Isabella age 11, and his son Roman age 5, and seven siblings. He was honored with a burial service at Arlington National Cemetery on April 27, 2011. Tony had been striving to complete a Master Degree program in International Business and Finance. His goal was to work for UNICEF and assist in raising the standard of living for the people of Kenya and other Third World Countries.
I (Julie) recently reconnected with a friend who has begun a nonprofit organization called Shoes4Water. Rev. Steve Bell and his late wife Kaye, were wonderful friends of ours when Emily and Olivia were little girls, we lived in Charleston S.C., and worked together in ministry with the youth group of our church. Steve is the founder of Shoes4Water. The organization collects shoes and then exports the shoes to distributors in Kenya, Haiti, and South America. Shoe resales build the local developing economy with retail businesses and affordable shoes for pennies on the dollar. They then use the monies to drill wells in Kenya. Shoes4Water partners with Kenyan churches so they can spread the gospel while administrating the clean water to the Kenyan people. Clever!!!! (Eventually, they are hoping to be in several third world countries)
Tony's lifetime goal was to help better the lives of the Kenyan people. We have decided to honor him by having a shoe collection to help Shoes4Water build a well in Kenya. Shoes4Water, located in Greenville S.C., will come to Iowa (or anywhere) to pick up the shoes if we collect 50 barrels of shoes. A barrel holds about 100 pair of shoes. These shoes can be in ANY condition as long as they are still wearable. So yes, we are talking of a big truck full of shoes! - 5,000 pair of shoes is our minimum goal.
Will you help? ~ How can you help?
1. We are looking for at least 50 families / businesses / organizations / small groups / churches / classrooms that will commit to collect 100 pair of shoes between now and April 5, 2013, the second anniversary of Tony’s death. The shoes do not have to be collected in a barrel. They can be brought to the collection sight in boxes or garbage bags. (We ask that each one who commits to this Shoe Collection will hold onto the shoes until the final gathering in order to avoid storage issues.) We will figure out the gathering place at a later date.
2. Where to get shoes? 100 pair really shouldn't be that hard… we all have family, friends, co workers, churches, and neighbors who have shoes they no longer wear.
3. What type of shoe? We can take any type of shoe regardless of style, color, size or age. The conditions we require are that the shoes must be wearable, there should be no holes, rips, tears or mildew. Any style of shoe is needed – from high heels to tennis shoes to flip flops to boots. Men's, women's or children's shoes are all welcome. At this time, they do not need roller skates.
4. What happens to the shoes that are donated? Shoes4Water exports shoes to distributors in Kenya, Haiti, and South America. Shoe resale builds the local developing economy with retail businesses and affordable shoes for pennies on the dollar. Affordable shoes are a life saving tool as they protect the new owner’s feet and overall health from foot abrasions, parasites and mites. The funds raised from the shoe sales pay for drilling water wells, drilling equipment, filtration devices, pumps and other related supplies in Kenya.
5. When you collect the shoes, it is important to keep the pair together. You can use a rubber band to hold the pair together, tie the laces together or place them in a plastic grocery bag and tie it shut. You can also use string, ribbon, zip ties, shoe boxes, or any other method to keep them as a pair.
Now for those of you who want to help us take this collection a step further. Shoes4Water is on target to drill their first well next Spring or Fall. They will be using leased equipment until they can purchase their own. I asked Steve how much the drilling equipment will cost. $60K - $80K seems overwhelming as that’s a whole bunch of shoes to gather. So if any feel led to donate money for equipment, you can make your check payable to "Global Christian Fellowship". They are a 501c3 nonprofit organization which means your donation is TAX DEDUCTIBLE!
Now, you understand why sometimes, life just makes me smile. I see a big picture here, a full circle of life,
Tony’s life, his dream of helping his native country is coming to fruition even after his death.
I look forward to hearing from you. My contact info is below. Please let me know right away if/how you are willing to help. We are asking for prayer support, shoe collection, and financial support. We will begin focusing on the collection in January, but you can begin now by talking to your friends and families over the Holidays about donating the shoes in their closets that are not being worn.
We will figure out the Celebration of Tony’s life and Collection day, time etc, once we know how much space we are going to need. To God be the Glory! Thank you for your prayers in this endeavor and thank you for your assistance in however you feel led to be a part of this Memorial Shoe Drive in Honor of our beloved Tony.
Al and Julie Flick
Raymond, IA 50667
Email (jla_ flick)
Julie Aarhus Flick - for facebook message