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Marathoners bring Hope to those in need of water



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Susan Mohr and John Drallos are running to help people overseas. (click for larger version)
October 16, 2013 - During the week Susan Mohr and John Drallos can be found at Clarkston High School helping students with their studies.

This Sunday they will be helping the Pokot tribe in Kenya, Africa, as they run in the Detroit Marathon for the Hope Water Project with Kensington Community Church.

"Kensington has helped the Pokot tribe in the past," said Mohr, a French teacher at the high school. "They are our overseas partner. We work with them and have different fellowships and project with them. One of them is through building wells."

Once they started building wells a greater need for more was realized. Now the goal is to raise one million dollars to provide clean water for more people.

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"It is a heavily drought stricken area," added Drallos, a Economics and World History teacher. "Most of the women will walk up to four hours a day to go to a watering hole shared by animals. They are left with a choice - a slow death by drinking contaminated water or a quick death by not drinking it at all. There is water deep underneath the surface for drilling of the wells."

When Mohr heard about the Pokot tribe and marathon while in church she didn't hestitate to sign up - even though she had never participated in a marathon or running event before.

"I am not a runner so it would have been totally easy for me to say no," she said. "But it is something I felt compelled to do. We take water for granted every day - pouring a glass of water, watering the grass or taking a ten minute shower. Those things aren't even a second thought to us."

She added as a mother she understood the hard decision mothers in the Pokot tribe had to face.

"I have two sons at home. How would I feel if I couldn't provide them with clean water," Mohr said. "On a personal level it struck a chord with me. Basically it came down to the fact I can run. I am able to run. I have support from my family and I am physically able to run so why wouldn't I do something like this?"

Drallos on the other hand has participated in two marathons within the last year. For him, signing up to help wasn't a second thought for him.

I have marathon experience and I haven't slayed the 18-year-old inside of me," he added. "In my mind I think I can do certain things my body says a couple days later maybe not so much. It is something I have done before and something I can do. So to take something I enjoy and would be doing anyway but add a cause to it I am passionate about - it just makes for a very obvious combination."

Mohr and Drallos have received a lot of support from family, friends and peers throughout Clarkston Community Schools - especially as they train and fundraising efforts for the event.

"It is a huge commitment," Mohr said. "Having support from people I know for me helps to believe in myself. I can do this. People are behind me. It helps me get through it. We have group runs on Saturdays and I would not have come as far as I have without the people. Support speaks volumes about what people can accomplish."

Drallos added he has lived in Clarkston his entire life and has seen and experienced the Clarkston community always reaching out with help.

"It is just what we do as a community - we come together," he said. "We recognize how fortunate we are to have the advantages we have here. In addition to living here I have taught here for ten years. Time and time again whenever the community recognizes and embraces a need they come through. That's one reason why I will never leave this place - people care about each other."

Mohr argued adding it being a teacher in the district for 11 years she and her peers also try to be role models for their students. Plus, she also lives in the community.

"We are getting them to think about what is outside of us and Clarkston and the bigger picture of the global society we live in," she said. "There is a big world out there. We can be doing something for the greater good."

For more information, please visit www.hopewaterproject.org.

To help as they raise money, please visit www.socialply.com/fundraisers/187 to donate to Drallos or www.socialply.com/fundraisers/1331 to donate to Mohr.

"It is about believing in people and wanting people to do good in the world for all the right reasons," Mohr added.

Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.
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