Delta Air Lines, World Vision U.S. partner to provide clean water

Walking or running a 6K is easy for Tony Gonchar, Delta Air Lines’ vice president in Seattle. But after World Vision’s 2017 Global 6K for Water, he had a new appreciation for the distance.

Six kilometers is the average distance that people who lack access to clean water walk each day to get water, often carrying heavy jugs or jerry cans filled with water on the return trip. And that’s what Tony did: carry a 5-gallon jerry can, filled with about 40 sloshing, awkward pounds of water, on a route around Gas Works Park in Seattle.

“I was here with my daughter and her boyfriend, so thankfully I had some moral support on this,” Tony says as he recovered at a tent at the event site. “I can tell you; I feel like I’m a pretty fit guy, but that was a very hard thing to do.”

About 1,300 walkers and runners in Seattle and more than 28,000 people worldwide walked the Global 6K to raise money to provide clean water to people without access. Through World Vision’s work, one person gets clean water every 10 seconds.

Participants in last year’s Global 6K for Water in Seattle make their way along the course to raise money for clean water around the world. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)


“With every step, I was imagining what it’s like to do this barefoot,” he says. “What it’s like to do on dirt, in fear of your life, and to only — at the end of the journey — have a can full of dirty water that needs to be purified.

“It was an incredible experience. It provides an appreciation not only for the life that I have, but the appreciation that we might be able to do something about these poor conditions that people face around the world every day.”

This year, Delta is again the official sponsor of the Global 6K for Water event in Seattle at Gas Works Park on May 19.

“We’ve been partners with World Vision as their preferred airlines supplier for the last five years,” Tony says. The 6K was attractive because it was an event calling for personal engagement — walk a mile in the shoes of people that really have a very difficult time in life trying just to get the things we take for granted, like clean water.

So Delta, Tony says, was happy to once again support the 6K event as part of its efforts to support the local community. In Seattle alone, Delta partners with more than 100 charities, and worldwide, Delta gives back 1 percent of its profits — about $40 million — to charitable organizations.

Last May, lugging the jerry can on the 6K route, Tony’s race bib featured an 11-year-old for whom he walked.

He says, “I can tell you, having walked with the jerry can, you have a real appreciation how difficult it could be just to get something that we turn the tap on and take for granted.

“We’re doing it in our track shoes and our Gor-Tex clothing, and it’s still a challenge. This event helps people understand the difficulty that other people around the world face in accessing basic necessities, and hopefully everybody walks away with a greater appreciation.”

Tony Gonchar, Delta’s vice president in Seattle, stands with World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns at the Global 6K for Water in Seattle, along with Reneé Stearns, right. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

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