Lil Spill

May 2009 Archive

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Is slut red inappropriate for a baptism? It’s Chantel’s baby’s baptism today. It’s as per usual hot as hell and my church clothes were given to the Salvation Army about twenty years ago.
Jackson has a project due tomorrow. It’s a contest with the other students on who can design the school’s new school flag. It needs to incorporate a few sysmbols that you identify with the school. Jackson’s symbols A SWORD: Because it takes courage to go to grueling school every day. A MEDAL OF HONOR Because you should be awarded a medal after everyday of the hardest school ever. A DOVE Because a dove represents hope and every student hopes for the end of school. Yup!! that will be his presentation.

posted by Liliana @ 11:40 AM

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My opinion: Guns and bars DO NOT MIX!!!
There is a small sign hanging on the smudgy glass door of the P&H Cafe, an eclectic watering hole in the heart of Midtown. Printed on Coors Light stationery, its message is clear: “I don’t care what the State says — YOU CAN NOT BRING A GUN ONTO P&H CAFE PROPERTY!”

chris davis
P&H proprietor Bob Heaton was among the first restaurant owners to publicly condemn legislation allowing carry-permit holders to pack heat in places where liquor is served. (Note to Heaton: If Governor Phil Bredesen affixes his signature to House Bill 0233, your sign won’t mean much. Legally, it’s got to be bigger, and it’s got to contain specific language.)

There are a lot of things bar and restaurant owners still don’t understand about the bill. And, in its current form, there’s a lot they’re not comfortable with.

“I had no idea that you couldn’t just put up a sign that says ‘No Guns Allowed,'” says Murphy’s owner Benny Carter. Like most of the bar owners contacted for this story, he doesn’t have a firm grip on the details of the bill. “It’s like something they decided to fast-track in Nashville. Not one person asked my opinion,” says Carter, who started playing music in bars before he was old enough to drink and who has worked in the hospitality industry most of his adult life.

“I haven’t decided if I’m going to put up a sign or not,” he adds cautiously, before voicing a complaint that’s been echoed by bar and restaurant owners across the state: “Why is it that nobody who works in the hospitality industry is ever consulted when they make these laws. … We — the owners — end up being responsible for everything.”

John Elkington, CEO of Performa, the real-estate company that leases Beale Street, agrees with Carter’s assessment and gives it a folksy spin. “My mama always said that nothing good ever happens after midnight,” he says, adding that, in his experience, concealed guns and late-night clubs where alcohol is served don’t mix. “After all my years of working on Beale Street, I completely agree with my mama, and I strongly oppose this legislation.”

Elkington says he can imagine plenty of compromises, such as creating exemptions for historic districts like Beale or including a curfew. He’s confident that if Bredesen vetoes the legislation, bar and restaurant interests will have enough time and leverage to get the bill amended.

“If the governor vetoes the bill, I’m going to Nashville and I’m going to push,” says Elkington, quoting recent headlines regarding gun crimes committed by trained and licensed carriers. “I know Curry Todd, the [Collierville] representative who introduced this legislation, and I think he’s an intelligent man — above the norm for the state legislature. I don’t know what he was thinking.”

Preston Lamm of River City Management (Rum Boogie Cafe, Pig on Beale, and other Memphis restaurants) describes HB 0233 in two simple words: “really crazy.”

“I am going to post notice that there are no guns allowed. I believe we will probably do that with all the Beale merchants very soon,” Lamm told Flyer senior editor John Branston.

Bud Chittom, owner of Blues City Café and other downtown businesses, agreed with Lamm’s assessment but also says he understood the desire to prevent “a “Columbine-style shooting.”

“I have a gun permit,” Chittom says. “I don’t want to be a victim. But in a bar it’s going to be hard to keep [customers] from mixing alcohol and marksmanship.”

“It’s like somebody said recently: Even in the Wild West, they knew enough to check their guns at the door,” Elkington says.

Newby’s owner Todd Adams, like Chittom, is an advocate of self-defense and the Second Amendment, but he fears what may happen when mixing guns and alcohol.

“It’s hard enough dealing with an intoxicated person,” Adams says. “I would hate to have a confrontation with a drunk carrying a gun.”

To be clear, it’s still a crime to drink and carry a gun, and HB 0233 doesn’t make it legal. In addition, anyone who waves a gun in a drinking establishment for any reason other than to stop a violent crime faces time in jail. If they’ve been drinking, they could lose the right to own and carry a concealed weapon.

That’s cold comfort for opponents of the legislation, like state senator Beverly Marrero (D-Memphis), who’s mocked the legislation with a deadpan observation: “Bars exist to facilitate drinking.”

Memphis police director Larry Godwin is only a little less acerbic, scolding Tennessee’s legislative body for worrying about “letting guns into bars” instead of “putting crooks behind bars.”

“Drinking affects your decision-making,” Godwin says. “I don’t think you can ever safely mix guns and alcohol.”

Blue Monkey owner Mike Johnson also is perplexed. “I don’t see the point in any of this,” he says. “I can’t figure out what problem the bill is fixing.”

He understands that support for HB 0233 probably extends beyond the 3 percent of Tennesseans who hold carry permits but says he has never heard any public demand for allowing guns in bars.

“I can’t figure out where all of this is coming from,” he says.

Not everybody in the bar business gets white-knuckled over the prospect of having a few more shooters at their bar. Memphis Restaurant Association president Mike Miller was sharply criticized by an MRA member for sending an e-mail blast informing restaurant owners about HB 0233.

However, the only bar owner the Flyer could find who strongly favors the legislation as it currently exists would only agree to be quoted under the condition of anonymity. He calls the Flyer’s reporting on the subject “not good” and based on a “false premise.” He then blasted The Commercial Appeal for publishing a series of articles about permit holders who were less than responsible with their guns. He says the CA’s flagging of “nine out of 30,000 permit holders in their vetting process” only confirmed his belief that legally armed citizens are an exceptionally law-abiding demographic.

click to enlarge

chris davis
Nancy and Bob Heaton of the P&H Cafe
“I’m only talking to you because the media has blown everything out of proportion, and I want people to have some facts,” he says. “You can describe me as a bar owner and as a handgun instructor but don’t use my name. I don’t want a target painted on my back in a city where there are 15,000 gang-bangers.”

The bar owner reiterates that HB 0233 is for civilized people who only want to eat lunch at Applebee’s.

“There’s been no increase in shootings in states that have the same laws,” he notes, describing the handwringing by local bar owners as “ridiculous,” because it assumes that gun owners who’ve gone to the trouble of obtaining a legal carry permit will turn around and break the law by drinking while carrying.

“I’m not worried about the guy legally carrying a gun sitting a couple of tables down from me,” he says. “I’m worried about that guy I run into in the parking lot.”

He says he won’t be hanging a “No Guns” sign in his establishment, because he thinks letting gang-bangers know you’re a “gun-free zone” is an invitation to trouble.

Elkington, Carter, Johnson, and Adams have heard arguments for the legislation and have mixed sympathies, but they still think the policy is problematic and worry that they’ll be forced to deal with patrons who are loaded in every sense of the word.

“Our security people don’t even carry guns,” Elkington says. “I can’t imagine that [bar operators] won’t see an increase in insurance costs if guns are permitted in places where alcohol is served.”

“I don’t understand why this is being done,” Elkington says. “There is no compelling reason to change the law. It makes no sense.”

Carter is concerned about a lose/lose situation for bar owners, whether they post a no-gun sign or not.

“You’re not supposed to carry and drink, but how do I know whether or not you have a weapon, if that weapon is concealed? Do I have to pat down everybody who walks in the bar? Or incur the expense of a metal detector to be fair to everybody? There’s always the possibility of lawsuits that result from people who drive away from my place drunk and get into trouble. I don’t see how this will be any different.”

Says Johnson: “We don’t have bouncers at the Blue Monkey. We train our people to decelerate situations, not accelerate them.”

The Opposing View

A few weeks back, Flyer senior editor Michael Finger wrote a first-person story on obtaining a Tennessee gun-carry permit. He was trained for his certification at Rangemaster of Memphis. Recently, he conducted a follow-up interview with instructor John Parker and Rangemaster owner Tom Givens regarding Tennessee’s proposed less restrictive gun-carry laws.

Tom Givens
Michael Finger: Is it true in Tennessee that the gun does not have to be concealed?

John Parker: That’s correct. There’s no requirement for it to be concealed. The reason Tennessee did that is not so you can wear it openly; it’s so that if your garment is blown back by the wind or something, technically you are not breaking the law.

What is the problem with someone wearing a gun openly?

It could cause problems if you ran into a policeman, and there are a lot of people who don’t like the idea of this, so you get into a situation where you might disturb some people.

I don’t understand why they are passing these laws about guns in bars and parks, because it seems there is an exception to these laws: Even if you take a gun into a place where it’s prohibited, if you use it in self-defense you are okay.

Legally speaking, yes. If you wear one in a place you’re not allowed to, and you use it in self-defense, then legally you’re not going to be charged with it.

Let me ask you, Tom Givens, the same question: Since you’re already protected if you use your gun in self-defense, aren’t these new laws really pointless?

Tom Givens: Well, not really. Let me give you some historical background. When the permit statute was passed in 1996, the prohibition that prevents carrying a gun into a place that sells alcohol was not a part of that statute. It predates that statute by a number of years.

At the time that law was passed, in 1996, there was no way for a private citizen to carry a gun legally in this state. The law against carrying a gun into a place that sells alcohol was one of the enhanced penalties for carrying a pistol illegally. After the Stockton school shooting, they put in a separate statute that made it a higher penalty to carry a gun into a place that sold alcohol and a higher penalty into a school and other places.

So it wasn’t that the permit law said you can’t carry a gun into these places, it said that nobody can carry a gun into these places. In fact, it’s illegal for a police office who’s off-duty to carry a gun into those places, because of the enhanced penalty laws that came into being in the ’80s.

They simply left that language out of the carry-permit law, and they are trying to put that language back in. So this permit would exempt people from the enhanced penalties.

Thirty-seven other states allow permit holders to carry guns into places that sell alcohol, so this is not some unique thing that Tennessee is attempting. It’s legal in Mississippi, in Georgia. In most places, if you have a permit, it’s legal to go into a place that sells alcohol, as long as you are not drinking.

But doesn’t that put a burden on the bar or restaurant to “card” everyone to determine if they’re carrying and trying to drink?

No. The carry statute says it very plainly: They have to put a sign up by the door that says “No Guns Allowed.”

I understand the sign has to be a certain size with very specific language.

Yep, but all you have to do is go to Kinko’s and have one made. It has to say the right thing. But they have the option of doing that if they don’t want people with gun permits to bring guns into their places.

What if they do want permit-holders in their places?

Then, they just do nothing.

But those people still aren’t allowed to drink alcohol?

There’s a separate statute in this state. Again, it’s not a part of the carry-permit statute. It’s a Class A misdemeanor to drink and carry a gun. It’s been that way for a few years.

It’s not part of the carry-permit statute, because it’s illegal for anybody to drink and carry a gun — a policman, federal agent, or private citizen. All these people who are upset about the law don’t even know what it says now.

Why are so many restaurant owners opposed to this?

People are trying to make it sound like this is about carrying a gun into a bar. It’s not about carrying a gun into a bar. It’s about carrying a gun into a restaurant.

John Elkington
There are 99 counties in Tennessee. Only four of them have anything that you could remotely call a city. The other 95 are rural. And the people in the legislature consider Memphis to be a small, impoverished Third World country. It’s not even in Tennessee, it’s not a part of the state, as far as they are concerned. They don’t realize that nearly every restaurant in Memphis serves alcohol.

So what the current law says, basically, is that you can’t carry a gun into a restaurant in Memphis. And that’s silly. If I’m having dinner and some guy four tables over is having a glass of wine, how in the hell does that rob me of my right to defend myself in the parking lot?

Why not just leave your gun in your car for a few hours?

Do you have any idea how many guns are stolen from parked cars in the city of Memphis?

Last year the number was close to 600, and, by definition, every one of them ends up in a criminal’s hands. I go into a restaurant, leave my gun in the car, come back out, and the asshole is standing by my car with my gun. That’s a pretty lousy situation to be in. Just because some silly law says somebody is going to have a beer, I can’t carry my pistol. It’s just assinine.

Another misconception is, people think just because someone is carrying a gun, they’re looking for somebody to shoot. That’s the last thing anybody wants to be involved in. Actually, it’s the next-to-last thing. The last thing is to stand there and watch a loved one killed or crippled because you can’t do anything about it.

The Word from Law Enforcement

by Jackson Baker

In the debate leading up to the passage of legislation permitting carriers of gun permits to take their weapons into bars and restaurants, the opposition from law enforcement agencies and restaurant associations was virtually unanimous.

Guns and alcohol are “not a good combination,” said deputy District Attorney James Challen, echoing sentiments expressed last week by his boss, District Attorney Bill Gibbons. Both officials cited numerous recent cases, including those of Chris Jones, the ex-sheriff’s deputy just convicted of second-degree murder as a result of a 2008 shooting death at the Windjammer Restaurant, and the fatal shooting earlier this year resulting from an argument between two men over a space in a suburban parking lot.

Given that background, why did members of the Tennessee legislature vote so overwhelmingly for the enabling legislation?

Republican Paul Stanley, a senator who represents parts of East Memphis and Germantown, said, to him, it was a matter of enabling law-abiding people to protect themselves. Stanley noted, “Only 2.3 percent of Shelby Countians have a handgun permit, and I’ll bet you half of those don’t even carry.”

He noted further that bars and restaurants have the option to post signs banning the carrying of weapons on their premises. And Stanley asked, “What’s the difference between being in a restaurant with someone who has a weapon legally and standing in a grocery line with somebody who does? That’s already been the case.”

Even so, he acknowledged the fact of the recent shootings and said, “I can’t guarantee that nobody else won’t do something stupid.”

Democrat Roy Herron of Dresden, who, like Gibbons, is a declared candidate for governor in 2010, was an original sponsor of the legislation.

“It’s a matter of how it’s posed,” Herron said. “It’s one thing to talk of ‘bars and honky-tonks.’ It’s another if you see it as allowing law-abiding citizens who have passed strict background checks to defend their families. I wish it wasn’t necessary, but it is.”

The Fine Print

After listing all the places where handguns are not allowed, Tennessee state law currently has this exception to the no-carry rules:

“A person shall not be charged with or convicted of a violation under this part if the person possessed, displayed or employed a handgun in justifiable self-defense or in justifiable defense of another during the commission of a crime in which that person or the other person defended was a victim.”

In other words, even if you legally carry your gun into a place where it’s illegal, if you use it in “self-defense,” you can’t be prosecuted. For restaurant and bar owners, it’s not just a simple matter of putting up a sign that says “NO GUNS.” Here is the requirement for a sign to be displayed in a public park:

“Each chief administrator of public recreational property shall display in prominent locations about the public recreational property a sign, at least six inches (6″) high and fourteen inches (14”) wide, stating:


“As used in this subsection (c), ‘prominent locations about public recreational property’ includes, but is not limited to, all entrances to the property, any building or structure located on the property, such as restrooms, picnic areas, sports facilities, welcome centers, gift shops, playgrounds, swimming pools, restaurants and parking lots.”

In other words, P&H proprietor Bob Heaton’s sign isn’t legally binding.

posted by Liliana @ 4:31 PM

Bank of America bought Country Wide Mortgage Company recently. I am so pissed because my mortgage payment just went up. How is that possible?
A bouncer in Denver got drunk, on his off hours, and proceeded to get into a scuffle with mall security. He broke something and now I am responsible for paying for it. What the fuck !!! A former bartender was off for the night. She went out with friends and DID NOT come to the bar that evening. In fact we provided video tape of the whole day and night to prove she did not come into our bar. That night she got into a car accident . Months later we received a letter from a lawyer placing us in a lawsuit about this. It was dismissed obviously but it still cost me money to defend myself. Why am I responsible for how people act off the clock? Fucking ridiculous!

posted by Liliana @ 3:45 PM

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Very positive day at work!!! San Antonio rocked last night!!!

posted by Liliana @ 2:37 PM

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I just read my emails from the weekend. Holy crap! Judith is incensed about something in Memphis. I backtracked through all the emails but have no true idea what she is incensed about. Then I get a bill from the denver mall because of some supposed incident with my Denver head of security. Now I am looking at specs from the Meadowlands! I haven’t yet read the managers logs from the weekend. Busy busy. I love that

posted by Liliana @ 9:41 PM

Friday, May 22, 2009

Long week. Jackson has been home from school all week. Between him and the constant construction in my house, I am going a bit nuts. We planted a lemon tree and an orange tree. We tried to recreate a painting that I saw in Architectural Digest. We played board games. The game we like best is called ” Worst Case Scenario” The object is moving forward across the board by getting trivia questions right. The trivia is all related to survival skills. ” How do you turn sea water to drinkable water?” ( bleach and time) ” How to treat a shock victim?” ( Cover the victim and elevate the extremities) and my favorite ” How to prepare a tropical pig for dinner?” ( Remove the musk gland located near the tail or the meat will be tainted with poison)
Can’t wait to get back to work!!!!
3 bars listed essentially the same employee problems but the way they stated it is so indicative of the manager’s personality. Lyzette, from Lauderdale, ” we could of done better if the girls worked as a team” ( Very corporate)
Kyle, from Nashville, ” Great work ethic!” ( very dry and sarcastic)
Katie, from Denver ” I will ride their asses every day if I have to” ( trash mouth, just like me)

posted by Liliana @ 3:46 PM

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Nashville and San Antonio rocking this week! Hot dog.
I am exhausted. My son has been waking me up a million times during the night. He is definitely feeling better but is very congested. I am so fucking cranky I could spit!!!
I am thinking of creating a message board for the GM’s to blog on. They have the funny stories now. That will be a project. Women’s motorcross starts this weekend. Soon we will be in the mix with that!!

posted by Liliana @ 2:52 PM

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I just did a radio commercial to promote the girl search in Oklahoma City. I SUCKED!!!! I called in off of a land line. My son was laughing so hard because when I got off I said ” Jackson , mommy stunk!!!” Man I am out of practice. Well regardless come down to bricktown on June 13th and 14th. I am picking the girls personally!!!!

posted by Liliana @ 6:05 PM

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Really busy week. A lot of new spots seem to be surfacing. Unfortunately the demise of others is a possible windfall for us.
Jackson is really sick. He has been home from school. Last night he spiked a very high fever so we took him to the doctor. The doctor said its the early stages of pneumonia. I feel o bad for him. He is so miserable. The doctor said a week at home with antibiotics should make everything alright.

posted by Liliana @ 3:25 PM

Friday, May 15, 2009

Wednesday night a bar down the street from the Nashville bar had a shooting. Our video surveillance for the street actually caught the shooter on film. We gave it to the Nashville PD hopefully it will help.
I feel a bit out of the loop with the bars I think perhaps a few no notice drop ins by me might be just what the doctor ordered.
This morning before school Jackson said ” Oh great another barf day at school where one week seems like a month and a month seems like eternity!” I remember feeling that way about school. Especially at the end of the school year. It just drags and drags.

posted by Liliana @ 10:55 AM

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A few days after we open Oklahoma City in late June is the H.O.G. ( Harley Owner’s Group, which I am a member) Bike rally. Awesome we are opening right in time for it!!!
A bunch of crap going on at the bars.
Tonight I have been trying to do DNA research with Jackson. This is not for school, he is just interested in it. Cool. I love his active mind!

posted by Liliana @ 9:32 PM

Monday, May 11, 2009

What a freaking day. We Let go one of the new managers. I already had made the decision to let this guy go when I started getting harsh letters from Jeff Wiseman about this same manager fucking some insurance up. I keep getting calls from the water company about the New Orleans bar. Bar won’t run well without water!!!!!
Went on Trey’s boat. I told him I had never driven a boat but he kept prodding me. So I drove it. The first half hour was great . I drove down canals off of Marapac Lake. We saw alligators. Awesome . This whole time I had the depth finder on. It would read anywhere from 4 feet to 30 feet. When we were in shallow water I would raise the trim. Well the depth finder read 7 feet but we still got stuck in the mud. I thought Trey was going to have a coronary. But he kept making me drive. Then he asked me to drive the boat on to the trailer when we were ready to leave. I begged him to let me just drive the trailer . ” No littlin no. You need to know how to do this.” Well I fucking hit the side of the trailer. The prop is all fucked up from the mud. I knicked the side of the boat too. I give up. I swear there is a hex on me this week. Two days ago I fell down my porch stairs. Today my legs are all black and blue. I wish I could go to sleep and wake up in a week.

posted by Liliana @ 8:09 PM

Sunday, May 10, 2009

This is hysterical. The article was in a newspaper called ” The Onion” that creates fake news. So funny!!

Vindictive Movie Studio Threatens To Make ‘Coyote Ugly’ Sequel
MAY 8, 2009 | ISSUE 45•19

BURBANK, CA—Telling the movie-going public that it had “better start falling in line,” executives at Touchstone Pictures announced Monday that if they do not immediately see a significant increase in box-office receipts they will not hesitate to produce a sequel to the 2000 film Coyote Ugly.


Unless ticket sales climb, producers say they’ll redirect the funding from 16 indie films into Coyote Ugly II.

The original movie—which follows a small-town girl who supports her songwriting dreams by taking a job as one of many scantily clad barmaids at a New York City hot spot—was widely considered by critics to be a vapid cultural travesty. According to Touchstone Pictures president Peter Zaiff, however, if the nation doesn’t continue to blindly accept all products distributed by the entertainment industry, he’ll produce a sequel to the film that “makes the first Coyote Ugly look like On The fucking Waterfront.”

“We are dead serious, you assholes,” Zaiff said. “You’re going to like what we tell you to like, end-of-fucking-story. Now fill up those seats, or so help me God, it’s Coyote Ugly II: Get Uglier.”

posted by Liliana @ 2:40 PM

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Lee sent me this yesterday. It is hysterical

posted by Liliana @ 9:52 AM

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Congrats to the Memphis bar. They rocked out The Beale Street Music Festival!

posted by Liliana @ 5:46 PM

San Antonio and Nashville putting up the high numbers.
Went to gulf shores this weekend. ( beginning of redneck riviera). We went to a bar called Floribama. The name comes from the idea that half the bar sits in Florida and the other half sits in Alabama. We had a blast. Bikers young and old. They had a band. 3 floors right on the beach. I always thought I would own a place like that. I drank their specialty frozen drink. Holy shit that was strong as hell.
Feeling strong and productive today.
Jackson and I had a special mommy son night . I let him stay up late and we went to see X men. I know it got mediocre reviews but I loved it. Hugh Jackson is now my new hollywood crush!

posted by Liliana @ 1:03 PM

Friday, May 01, 2009

Like clockwork. Kevin called me up yesterday having been to the doctor. ” Kevin the swine flu is still a ” flu”. You have had the flu a million times. The reason people are dieing is because they live in third world countries and don’t have the ability to hydrate themselves properly and get adequate medical help.” Oh my god. I went to Mexico and feel perfectly fine!
I read this article and was moved by this bartender’s intelligence , motivation, and charity.
BLOWING ROCK, North Carolina (CNN) — Behind the bar at a local restaurant, Doc Hendley leans in to hear his customer over the band. “You like the pinot? Cool,” he says.

Bartender Doc Hendley has tapped his regular customers to help provide funds for clean water around the world.
1 of 2

It’s a seemingly average interaction, but Hendley is not your average bartender. As he pours wine in the United States, he’s also helping to save thousands of lives on the other side of the world — and he’s tapped into his regulars to help.

“[They] sit on the same stool, drink the same drink, pay the same tab every day. I felt like they really did want to be a part of something,” Hendley says. “They just were waiting for somebody to bring that something to them.”

That something is Wine to Water, Hendley’s organization that provides clean water to people in developing countries through funds raised at wine tasting events.

Since 2004, Hendley has traveled to Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda and Cambodia, working with local communities to build clean water wells and sanitation systems.

The 30-year-old first learned about the world’s water crisis when he took a break from college, and his job as a bar-keep, to travel the world; he hoped it would ground his education and provide some direction. It did.

“I began seeing the figures [of] people that don’t have access to clean water — and it absolutely floored me,” he recalls.

At least one in six people worldwide lack access to adequate amounts of safe water for drinking and hygiene, according to the UN. This contributes to diarrhea, the leading cause of illness and death, and translates to 1.5 million preventable deaths each year.

After returning to school, Hendley realized that just by using his ability to bartend and create relationships with people, he might be able to help the problem. At the bars where he worked, he solicited evenings to host wine tastings and provide information about the global crisis. By graduation, Hendley’s “Wine to Water” events had yielded enough funding to implement water projects in the developing world. Do you know someone who should be a CNN Hero? Nominations are open at

Don’t Miss
Get involved: Wine to Water
In Depth: CNN Heroes
He approached a local contact, Kenny Isaacs of Samaritan’s Purse, with the intention of handing over the funds for their international charitable water projects. Instead, Hendley found himself in Sudan in the spring of 2004, training to oversee water projects and developing and installing water systems in zones deemed too dangerous for United Nations aide workers — all in the midst of civil war.

“[I was] seeing these people living in conflicts, bullets whizzing by their ears — yet their biggest concern was the huge loss of life because of the unclean water,” he recalls. “That’s when water changed from being my passion to the burden of my life.” Watch Hendley describe how the experience in Darfur affected him »

After a year of service in Darfur, Hendley returned to the States and continued his fundraising events while focusing on ways his group could improve upon other water project models.

“Throughout the desert there were bore holes [for wells] all over the place, they just weren’t working,” says Hendley. “Organizations would put a brand new, $15,000 bore hole in a village that already had one; [they] didn’t stop to think that maybe that one is broken or just needs some parts.”

Wine to Water is dedicated to achieving sustainability through education and empowerment of local community members, training them to install, maintain and repair their own water systems. Watch Hendley help a Cambodia community build a well for its school »

Hendley has found this approach reduces overhead costs, leaving more for investment in water initiatives and local economies. Because his operation is small, Hendley says he’s less deterred by the instability of areas in dire need and is able to access pockets of the world that larger organizations may have to avoid.

To date, Hendley’s group has worked in five developing countries, including India, bringing safe drinking water to more than 25,000 individuals in refugee camps, orphanages, schools, hospitals and a leper colony, as well as directly into hundreds of homes through the installation of bio-sand filters. Watch how Hendley is changing lives around the world »

In the face of the overwhelming global crisis, Hendley says his work may be a drop in the bucket, but to him it’s nothing short of a miracle.

“You can be a bartender in Raleigh, North Carolina; you can be just a regular anybody. And you really, really can change the world,” he says. “You can touch thousands of lives. I’m walking truth of that.”

posted by Liliana @ 9:31 AM

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