Koons Arlington Toyota was proud to support HB Woodlawn in their Water (H2O) for Life Walk last month. More than 300 people participated in the event that will fund wells for people in both Haiti and Bangladesh who currently have no access to fresh water.
Here is more from an email from Patty Hall, President and Co-Founder of H2O for Life:
“Finally, the race day arrived! Saturday, May 21, was a beautiful day at Potomac Overlook Park in Arlington, Virginia. HB Woodlawn school spent months planning a 5K trail run/walk to raise funds for H2O for Life. H2O for Life is a service learning project which partners U.S. schools, youth groups, businesses, faith organizations, clubs and individuals with schools in developing nations in need of water, sanitation and hygiene education.
This year HB Woodlawn chose two partner schools. They hoped to raise funds for Baliarpur School in Bangladesh, and Nationale Alexandre Petion de Ranthionoby School in Haiti. The students ambitiously set their fundraising goal at $5,000. Throughout the year students studied issues surrounding the water crisis, distributed posters and flyers throughout their building, and encouraged many students to join them in their efforts.
Last fall, an ABC crew visited HB Woodlawn and arranged a Skype call between the HB students and students at Baliarpur School in Bangladesh. After a frenzy of combined efforts between H2O for Life, Save the Children, the implementing partner in the countries, and the students and staff of HB Woodlawn, the call was organized. The Skype call was facilitated by Dr. Richard Besser for ABC News. In late January, the call was showcased on Good Morning America. Students were mobilized into action!
Through the help of enthusiastic and dedicated parent volunteers, students, DC Roadrunners, and teacher, Cecilia Allen, HB Woodlawn planned the 5K walk for water. The walk symbolizes the average distance that is walked multiple times daily in many developing countries to collect water. The walk committee asked the local community to help sponsor the event. Koons Arlington Toyota stepped up to the plate, and donated $5,000 to cover most of the costs for the walk. Due to this amazing sponsorship, the HB Woodlawn students dramatically exceeded their initial goal and raised over $13,000. More than 300 people participated in the event. Walk proceeds will fund the water project for both of their partner schools, and more! Additional funds will be designated for another school in need through partner H2O for Life.
HB Woodlawn and H2O for Life give a huge thank you to Koons Toyota!”
And Koons Arlington Toyota was only too happy to help. We love to support our community and it’s great to see people of all ages working together to help others.
“I am cruising down Constitution at a brisk, but comfortable pace. The Washington Monument is directly to my left and the White House is on my right. I hear the roar of the crowd and watch a black SUV filled with Diplomatic Security clear traffic ahead of our large group of riders. About 50 yards in front of me, I can see Benjamin near the front of the pack of veterans riding “hand cycles,” which operate according to the same concept as a bicycle, but are specially adapted for individuals who have limited or no use of their legs. One word jumps to the forefront of my mind: fortunate.
The burning in my legs as I propel my bike forward reminds me that I am fortunate to have the full use of my limbs. Loud cheers that erupt from the crowds of tourists, government employees, and lobbyists who have lined the street to cheer on the veterans participating in the race remind me that we are fortunate to have a military comprised of dedicated men and women who (to borrow a line from the great Aaron Sorkin) “stand on a wall” to protect our freedom. The sight of Benjamin ahead of me reminds me how fortunate I am that he is still alive.
Aside from being my cousin, Benjamin is a huge inspiration and influence on my life. Growing up, Ben and I always enjoyed a close relationship. Our fathers are twin brothers, which Ben tells me actually makes us genetically closer to being brothers than cousins. Whether or not this is true scientifically doesn’t matter much because I know that, at a level beyond scientific understanding, Ben and I are brothers.
Ben joined the Navy in 2000, shortly after graduating college. Following boot camp, he was stationed in Pensacola, Florida where his was trained in cryptology, and then transferred to Naples, Italy. Through sporadic emails, Ben regaled me with photographs of Rome and stories of his new Italian girlfriend. One of my favorite things to hear about was Ben’s new motorcycle. As a typical American adolescent male, the motorcycle was the physical manifestation of the freedom I craved. It seemed that Ben had it all.
In late 2002, however, this image was shattered by a single phone call. Ben had been in an accident while riding his motorcycle, and there was a good chance that he wasn’t going to make it. Tense months passed as we prayed and waited for news of Ben’s recovery. Eventually, it became clear that Ben would survive, but that he would never be able to walk again due to the severe damage he sustained to his spinal cord.
Ben was medically retired from the Navy in 2003 and returned home to Kentucky. Our family gathered around him and tried to do what we could to help in his recovery. It was Ben’s perseverance and desire to not be defined by his disability, however, that drove his recovery. He also brought our family closer together. As a large family with a strong agricultural background, we have always been a close-knit group. It seems that farming breeds large, close families (this is most likely due to the free labor). Ben’s accident and his example drew us even closer together by showing us the fragility of life and forcing us to truly appreciate the time we spend together.
It has been about eight years since his accident and in that time Ben has graduated college, built a house, married a wonderful woman, and fathered a beautiful baby girl. Not one who is content to slow down, Ben is active in adaptive sports and travels across the country to kayak, ski, surf, and bike. He also works to help other injured veterans overcome their disabilities.
When Ben and I decided to form our team for the Honor Ride, we weren’t sure how we would raise the $4000 we were required to raise. We emailed family, friends, and business associates and were able to raise a significant amount of money, but nowhere near what we needed. Then, we received a call from a representative from Koons who had seen our profile on the Wounded Warrior Project’s fundraising website and was interested in sponsoring our ride. Thanks to Koons generous donation, we were able to raise the money we needed to for the ride. All of these funds will go to fund the services that the Wounded Warrior Project provides to the men and women of our armed forces who return home with life-changing injuries.
Ben and I are thankful to Koons for their support and to the Wounded Warrior Project for the great work that they do. Please take some time to visit http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org to learn how you can support this amazing organization and the work that it does for our veterans.”
Thanks for sharing Andrew. We loved meeting you and your cousin, Ben. We wish you both all the best.