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December 18, 2007

New Life From Southern Indiana

Second generation now making water filters for poverty-stricken areas

Most Americans can drink a glass of water without ever wondering if it’s safe, but that is not true everywhere.

A relatively simple device created and manufactured in Southern Indiana is helping supply safer water to the poorest areas of the world.

New Life International, a nonprofit organization based in Underwood, has sent water purifiers to more than 60 countries. They send out “several hundred per year,” according to President Duvon McGuire.

“In this country, we take safe water for granted. We flush our toilets with drinking water,” McGuire said. “We don't really think about some of the problems in these other countries.”

In fact, he said about 80 to 90 percent of sick people at clinics in Third World countries have an underlying waterborne ailment.

McGuire knows the dangers first hand. In the late 1960s, he became sick and nearly died after drinking contaminated water in Ecuador where his parents, Byron and Yvonne McGuire, were serving as missionaries. The couple moved to Underwood in 1972 and started New Life International Mission. Meanwhile, Duvon studied parasitology at Asbury College in Kentucky.

In 1992, Duvon invented the “New Life International Water Purifier,” which is now a patented product distributed

through the ministry his father established.

They began distributing the purifiers seven years ago. Byron passed away on Oct. 24, but his son has ensured that the mission continues to grow.

In the coming year, they hope to find sponsors to build and distribute 500 more purifiers, but it’s not cheap. A basic kit costs about $1,000 to produce, but with transportation and training included, a single purifier can cost about $3,500. They mostly rely on sponsors for funding.

The units run on a 12-volt power supply, like a car battery, which creates chlorine from table salt and water. The chlorine can treat water in minutes.

To keep costs down, they use volunteers for assembly. Members at Morton Memorial United Methodist Church in Clarksville decided to help after seeing a presentation from one of New Life’s missionaries about four months ago.

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