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Convoy of Hope delivers water to Success School

Photo by Shari Harris
From left, Licking Assembly of God Pastor Paul Richardson; Chris Baird, a member of Convoy of Hope’s U.S. Disaster Services team; and superintendent of Success School, Stephanie McKinney are shown with some of the water delivered Thursday. Pastor Richardson assisted with logistics and plans to remain involved in organizing assistance to the community and school until the water issues are resolved.

Photo by Christy Porter
The water pumped into this water tower near Success has recently been muddy and silty.


By Shari Harris, Publisher

The challenges of providing safe environments for learning and a quality education are many for the administrators and teachers of today. For Superintendent Stephanie McKinney and her team at Success R-VII School, working together to fill in the gaps at a small K-8 school is commonplace, but when they recently lost access to fresh water, the challenges loomed greater than ever. Convoy of Hope helped reduce their obstacles Thursday with a delivery of a truckload of bottled water.

Public Water Supply District (PWSD) #1 in Northwest Texas County operates three wells, and the one located in Success services about 300 water meters, including the Success School. It was drilled around 1964 or 1965, when PWSD was established. Recently the well has begun producing muddy water, and the service area of the well is under a boil water order.

PWSD #1 staff confirmed that a new well is a definite need, and efforts are underway to make that happen. A large water project like this can take months or years to complete, but the district is working to expedite the process due to the immediate needs of the community.

Obstacles to residents using the water include not only procuring water for drinking and cooking, but also for bathing and laundering clothes. Boiling the water may kill bacteria, but it doesn’t eliminate the dirt that is present, making it unusable for many things. Bathing in muddy water is an exercise in futility, and anecdotal reports have been made of washing clothes, only to find more stains on them afterward than what they had going into the washing machine.

Supt. McKinney reported the challenges of bathing and finding clean clothes for school are endured by some of their students and teachers, then when they arrive at school, washing hands and filling water bottles for drinking are common activities that are no longer possible. Additionally the school kitchen cannot use their dishwasher, so disposable plates and utensils must be used.

Virginia Burcham, the president of PWSD #1, contacted Convoy of Hope in Springfield, and Thursday morning, the faith-based organization’s disaster response team sent a truck containing forty-eight pallets of water. The organization promised to continue to supply water to the school until the situation is resolved. Supt. McKinney estimates the school uses 1,800 bottles of water each week, and anticipates they will need water through the remaining school year and summer school, and well into the following school year. Having a steady source of water is a relief to McKinney, especially when her budget is already stretched thin.

Storing the water is another challenge, and every spare inch of room in the school is sure to be utilized. The FEMA building at the school will offer an ideal storage place when it is finished, likely sometime this summer.

Additional items that the school could use include divided styrofoam trays and plastic utensils for meals, and individual bottles of hand sanitizer. Donations of these items or funds to purchase the items may be made at the school, or a table will be set up to accept donations at Licking Downtown Inc.’s Junk Derby at the Licking Mill on Saturday, May 6. Supt. McKinney urges people to call the school at 417-967-2597 for more information.

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