Carmel resident helps brings clean water to thousands
By Mark Ambrogi
As a youth growing up, Bill Farrar attended 10 work camps, some as a student and some as a counselor, with Carmel United Methodist Church.
“I developed a passion helping other people,” the Carmel resident said. “There is nothing like being a help to other people. I’ve been blessed to be a blessing to others.”
After being laid off from his job as mechanic at United Airlines after a facility shut down, Rev. Reid Walker invited Farrar to go help in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Walker thought Farrar could help in installing water purification systems to make the drinking water safe.
In July 2009, Farrar, a 1978 Carmel High School graduate, founded Fountains of Hope International, which installs water purification systems in countries that need them. The purifier can treat 55 gallons per minute or 1,200 gallons in 20 minutes with 1/3 cup of salt.
Farrar, who serves as executive director of the faith-based nonprofit organization, has made 10 trips each of the past two years. A trip usually last from 10 days to 2 1/2 weeks.
Since November, Farrar has been on mission trips to Zimbabwe, Uganda, Kenya and Haiti. Farrar is leaving for India on March 19 for two weeks.
“There were 25 homes and a church burned down (in India),” Farrar said. “Orchard Park Presbyterian Church is providing money for each family. The Rotary Club is providing a water purification system for me to install.”
Since the Foundations of Hope began, Farrar has made 25 trips to Haiti, nine trips to Africa and one trip to India.
The small system can disinfect 36,000 gallons of water an hour.
His most scary trip was a visit to Kenya during the post-election violence in 2007.
“I actually came under machine gun fire,” Farrar said. “It was crazy. We had loaded up our equipment and there were machine guns right on the street. We were providing safe water for the internally displaced persons who got displaced from their homes because they were in wrong tribe in a city and trying to get back to their original tribe. There were 149 people killed that night.”
Farrar, an airplane and helicopter pilot, said most of the donations come from the website, fountainsofhope.org.
“One system can take care of 5,000 people for less than a $1 a day,” Farrar said. “So basically it costs $5,000 to install but it will last for several years.”
The water purifier uses electricity (AC or 12-volt battery), table salt and water to create chlorine that kills harmful bacteria.
The initial mission trips and a visit to a life coach in 2008 help Farrar discover what he was meant to do.
“(The life coach) had me write down some of my passions,” Farrar said. “Some of those passions include I love to travel, I have excellent technical ability, I love sharing the love of Jesus with people. I have a passion for helping kids. What I’m doing here combines all of those passions. I get to see the world through our ministry. Not only that, but I get to help thousands of people literally.”
Meet Bill Farrar
Personal: Turns 55 on April 1. Graduated with aviation technology from Purdue University. Has three children, Daniel, 24, Michaela, 22, and Jacob, 20.
Hobbies: “I love canoeing. I’m part of Boys Scouts Voyageur Canoeing. We are a group of adults who train other adults on how to train their kids within their troop. I’ll go up to Boundary Waters (in Minnesota and Canada) and go canoeing. I love visiting National Parks. I like seeing beautiful sites around the county.”
Favorite music: “I’m in a couple of Praise Bands where I play a 12-string guitar. So Contemporary Christian Music is my favorite type.”
Favorite TV shows: “I love action movies like ‘Braveheart.’ I like social justice movies as well.
Favorite restaurant: “When I can go down to Haiti and get a lobster for next to nothing. That would be my favorite dinner.”
Favorite teams: “I follow the Colts and Purdue basketball and football.”