Frank Evert, founder of Water Without Borders, passed away in September 2015 of pancreatic cancer. Frank was a life time resident of Duchess County, New York. While attending the Arlington School District at the age of 13, his parents and teachers noticed that he had difficulty reading print. His parents brought him to a local eye doctor who prescribed bifocals to. At that time, this was unusual for a child of that age. After a few years Frank's vision deteriorated and the glasses were not keeping up with his loss of vision. His mother and father took him to New York City to a renowned doctor in that field. The doctor told his parents that their child was "faking the symptoms to get more attention." With this news, Mr. and Mrs. Evert were surprised with what the doctor said. For the most part they listened to the doctor who was considered "New York Cities' best".
At the age of about seventeen, Frank left school and went to work for a friend of the family who had a construction business. After an automobile accident, Frank went to another eye doctor. Sadly, that is when the hard truth was given to him. Frank was told that he had a disease called Macular Degeneration, and that he would most likely be totally blind by the time he was in his forties. At that point he was declared legally blind. Frank gave up his driver's license then. This made it hard to get back and forth to work, but with help from his friends and family he kept working.
During the next fifteen years a lot of things changed. Frank joined the Local Elks 275. He even ran for office. He met his wife, Kelly, whose mother was a nurse in Boston. Kelly and her mother wanted some answers. With a lot of persistence, they persuaded Frank to go to Boston to find out some more about his vision loss. Frank then went to Boston, where he was given a new diagnosis which was Bilateral Detached Retinitis. The doctors told him this was caused by an underlying infection. They decided to treat Frank with an aggressive treatment of antibiotics. Finally, this gave Frank some hope again. However, they would later find out that this too was a misdiagnosed.
Frank's wife and mother in-law would not give up. They encouraged him to go to Doctor Foster at Massachusetts Eye and Ear, who referred him to another doctor at the hospital. This doctor's name is Doctor Berson. After examining Frank, he ordered a battery of tests to be performed. Doctor Berson diagnosed Frank with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a degenerative disease which ultimately, will leave him blind. However, this disease can be slowed by him taking a vitamin and following a special diet.
After his visit with Doctor Berson, Frank continued working construction. This line of work was becoming very challenging for him. After continuously getting hurt, he wondered if there was any other line of work he could be successful at. In April of 2007, Frank's wife gave birth to their son. Frank realized he could no longer do this line of work. He wondered what his options were. That is when his friend Andy Castro asked him to come to work for him. Things really began to change for Frank.
Frank didn't have any administrative skills because of this; he knew working in this new position would be difficult. Mr. Castro believed in Frank. He saw a potential in Franks unwavering spirit. He wanted this to work for both the company and Frank. Mr. Castro contacted a few people, to find out what kind of training was available for someone in Frank's condition. Reluctantly, Frank finally spoke to a case manager at the Commission for the Blind. He started his training.
There were many things Frank was required to learn when he decided to take part in training with the Commission for the Blind which partnered with the Lighthouse International. Included in this training was learning to use a walking cane and becoming more self-sufficient at home. The Commission for the blind stated that it would take about one year before Frank could even begin to learn the computer. It was necessary for Frank to complete the mobility and keyboard training first.
Frank was determined to learn these new skills so he would be able to begin learning how to use a computer. With a lot of hard work Frank was sending e-mails in less than 10 months. During his training he was also doing an internship at Alrafidane, which is an International water filtration company. As if Frank wasn't busy enough he decided to learn brail and take Adult Education courses with the Hadley school for the Blind. During that time period when Frank was interning with Alrafidane, Frank learned a lot about water. He discovered how people were getting sick and even dying from contaminated water. This was alarming to Frank, being a father himself, he realized someone had to do more for the people who were stricken with disease from contaminated water. He realized that these people were underprivileged and would not be able to resolve these issues on their own, and too often many water companies would not operate in these areas. They needed help.
Frank decided that he was going to do whatever he could do to help these people. From his unique personal life struggles and accomplishments, he was motivated and committed himself to helping those in need. Frank started a nonprofit corporation called "Water Without Borders", a company that would help people gain access to healthy water, regardless of where they lived. This passion consumed a lot of his time.
Frank realized that this was a huge undertaking, and he needed help with this cause. He surrounded himself with a few gentlemen that would really push WWB to its full potential. Blane Brummond, Vilai Bouttaphom, and Larry Sullivan were invited to join the team. These are men that have the same conviction to help those less fortunate, and a heart devoted to the cause. Water Without borders was complete. With a combined background in military special operations, personal protection, law, internet technology, and construction, there is no place that Water Without Borders will not go. The areas of operation could be the most humble or hostile, they will not be deterred by aggression. Water Without Borders mission is to go past state lines, international boundaries, to go beyond the borders of conventional aid and bring relief to the stricken masses. These are the places where many wish to help but few will go. This is there calling, this is their cause, this is Water Without Borders.
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