Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette Leitchfield Walk4Water organizer Mark Claypool addresses participants in this year's walk, held Saturday at James D. Beville Community Park.

Matt Lasley | GC News-Gazette

Leitchfield Walk4Water organizer Mark Claypool addresses participants in this year's walk, held Saturday at James D. Beville Community Park.

The 2019 Leitchfield Walk4Water saw record participation this past weekend to support installing clean water wells in Haiti.

Over 70 walkers - the highest number to date - helped celebrate the annual event's raising of $12,432 this past Saturday at the James D. Beville Community Park Pavilion. This total, coupled with pledges of additional donations, are expected to bring the walk's total funds raised to $15,000 within the next couple of weeks, making it possible to dig two clean water wells in Haiti.

Co-hosted by the Clinton Street Church of Christ and the charitable organization Healing Hands International, the Leitchfield Walk4Water has, since 2012, funded the digging of 13 clean water wells in developing countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, India, and Haiti.

"I'm just always impressed with the generosity of people," said event organizer Mark Claypool of Walk4Water's success.

The participants in this year's event were given the opportunity to walk four miles (four laps around the Beville Park walking track) in solidarity with those in underdeveloped countries who must walk an average of four miles each day to collect often-contaminated water.

Claypool's cousin, Wendy Cline, who has participated in the local event for several years, said she was inspired by the Leitchfield Walk4Water to coordinate one in her home of Bowing Green, Kentucky.

"Mark does an amazing job here," said Cline of the Leitchfield Walk4Water. "He raises so much money for a small town."

Cline said she has traveled to Haiti several times with Healing Hands International and said she loves the organization because "their money goes where they say it goes."

She also said that one doctor told her group that cholera had been eliminated in a community within six weeks of receiving a clean water well.

"It really makes a difference," Cline said. "It's a great cause.

Healing Hands International Special Projects Coordinator Caleb McCurry said during Saturday's event that, in communities in which Healing Hands has drilled clean water wells, it has started revolutions, helping to cure diseases and transforming the economy.

According to Claypool, approximately 200 individual donors and families gave to the cause, as well as 10 businesses, including Fleener's Home Planning, Grayson County Farm Bureau, Lee Farms, McCubbin's Furniture, Mid-State Car Craft, My Father's House, Sam's Furniture, The Cecilian Bank, Wilson & Muir Bank & Trust, and Worley Printing Company.

Several churches, including Church of Joy, Clarkson Community Church, Leitchfield United Methodist Church, Potter's Hope Ministries, and St. Joseph Catholic Church, also contributed to the fundraising, as well as the Sons of the American Legion Sign 81.

Additionally, at the end of two weeks, when all the donations are in, a North Carolina business has pledged to donate to bring the walk's total to $15,000.

Claypool said donors from 14 states contributed to the event: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia.

Donations to this year's walk can still be made at walk4water.org by searching for Leitchfield, KY and clicking the "donate" button.