Nonprofit founded in honor of Jim Thorpe, along with strategic partners, brings new water-generating technology to communities at Pine Ridge Reservation

PINE RIDGE, S.D., Dec. 21, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — As Americans struggle with supply chain issues, rising food costs, and a resurging Coronavirus, the nonprofit Bright Path Strong is a beacon of light in time for the holidays. Together with a coalition of partners, the non-profit founded in legendary athlete Jim Thorpe’s name is donating a life-changing, water-generating device to a Native American community that desperately needs it.

Watergen’s GEN-M machine is being donated to the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It will create high-quality drinking water by pulling humidity from the air and filtering it. Depending on climate geographic location, Watergen’s GEN-M machine can generate up to 233 gallons per day. The donation is part of Bright Path Strong’s mission to embody the legendary Sac and Fox and Potawatomi athlete’s selfless and giving spirit. “Bright Path” was the English translation of Jim Thorpe’s Sac and Fox name, Wa-Tho-Huk.

“Growing up, I heard my father tell stories about his friend Jim Thorpe’s generosity and compassion toward fellow Native communities,” said Bright Path Strong co-founder Nedra Darling, who is a citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation. “Jim Thorpe was kind, humble and giving of himself. Bringing water to Pine Ridge is something Jim would have absolutely been a part of, especially this time of year.”

Lack of access to clean water is a serious issue on many tribal reservations. A 2018 study by the U.S. Water Alliance and nonprofit DigDeep found Native American households were nearly 20 times more likely to lack indoor plumbing than white households. Sustainable, clean drinking water is essential to basic public health.

Earlier this year, Bright Path Strong challenged Americans to join the movement to bring water to areas of Indian Country that lacked critical access. Watergen and Native American-owned distribution company 4D Products & Services, LLC pledged to match donated funds. Those donations and a generous gift from the Huntsman Foundation helped turn that challenge into a reality for people at Pine Ridge. They’ve been plagued for generations by poor water quality and barriers to water access. Trucking water into the reservation and the federal government’s broken promises of upgraded infrastructure has become a way of life at Pine Ridge.

“With this gift, Bright Path Strong has brought a next-generation product to our tribe when it comes to water needs. We hope to bring this product to all nine districts,” said Kevin Killer, President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “Together with Bright Path Strong, we can help the people of our tribe, one gallon at a time. Woplia (thank you).”

To learn more about our mission to bring water to disadvantaged Native communities, visit brightpathstrong.org.

CONTACT: Chris Nielsen, [email protected]

SOURCE Bright Path Strong

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