Local News

NCSU grad is finalist for CNN Hero award

Posted November 5, 2009 4:33 p.m. EST
Updated November 5, 2009 6:09 p.m. EST

— A North Carolina State University graduate is one of ten finalists for CNN’s Hero of the Year award, which recognizes ordinary people who have had an extraordinary impact on the world.

Doc Hendley, 30, founded Wine to Water, a non-profit organization that helps install water systems around the world for people who don’t have access to clean water.

Hendley had the idea for the non-profit while bartending and playing music at nightclubs around Raleigh in 2003. While working at the Hibernian on Glenwood Avenue, Hendley organized wine tasting fundraisers and saved up tens of thousands of dollars.

An international relief group hired him and advised him to use his money where it was most needed.

“When I realized that 1.1 billion people in the world don’t have access to clean water…when I found that stuff out and then I realize that nobody really knew about that, I was completely shocked,” Hendley said.

Wine to Water held its first fundraiser in January 2004 and by August of that year Hendley was installing water systems in Darfur, Sudan.

“I had no idea that I’d be living in a place like Darfur for a year, going to places like Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Cambodia,” he said.

Since then, Hendley’s organization has helped provide water for 120,000 people.

“Doc has definitely changed the world,” Wine to Water volunteer Ubie Sullivan said.

Hendley now works full-time for his non-profit.

The winner of CNN's Hero of the Year award will receive $100,000.

Voting continues online until Nov. 18 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 26 at 9 p.m. on CNN.