Plainwell High School juniors (from left) Carly Pylat, Sydney Rehr and Kaitlyn Shafer lean on the water their student group, the Plainwell High School Interact Club, gathered to help residents of Flint. (Photo by Ryan Lewis)

Local schools ship water to help Flint

Ryan Lewis (Editor)

With more than 600 cases of bottled water and 325 gallon-jugs of water, the truck carrying the Plainwell High School Interact Club’s “Water Drive For Flint” set out for that city early Thursday, Feb. 11.

Plainwell High School junior Sydney Rehr is the president of the club and said she was excited to go deliver the water, which filled 18 shipping pallets.

“We didn’t think we’d get this much,” Sydney said. “But all of the schools and the community helped and I know a few locations off the schools helped too.”

Students loaded the massive trailer Wednesday, surrounding loose gallon jugs with cases of bottled water and plastic sheeting for their journey.

The water drive began several weeks ago. The civic service club, a junior division of Rotary International, organized it with the help of adult advisors—and local Rotarians—district superintendent Sue Wakefield and high school principal Jeremy Wright.

Wakefield said the project was a great thing for the students to learn to reach out to others for assistance and pool resources.

She said Rotary International’s main goal is to wipe out polio worldwide.

“The other project that Rotary’s been after for the better part of 35 years is clean water around the world,” she said. “So this just kind of dovetails into that.”

Sydney and fellow junior and club member Carly Pylat went with Wright and Wakefield to Flint to accompany the donation, on its way to a warehouse organized by the Genesee County Sheriff Department as a collection and distribution point for water.

Wakefield said, “Plainwell Community Schools would like to thank everyone for their donations. The PHS Interact Club’s water drive for Flint would not have been such a success without this community.”

Notable among those donors was Kalamazoo-based shipping company Clark Logic.

Clark Logic president Jamie Clark and the company’s vice president of operation Jerry Helm were on hand to help see the donation on its way.

Clark said Interact parent who worked at a company with which Clark Logic does business reached out to Clark about costs for shipping and any help it could provide.

“We’re happy to help and have this opportunity,” Clark said. “So we did it all for no charge.”

It was actually the first haul for the 18-wheel truck that delivered the water; it is one of three new trucks the company recently purchased.

Contact Ryan Lewis at or (269) 673-5534.


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