Seattle Engineer Helps Build Water Treatment Plant in Thailand

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2005 A joint effort among the Peace Corps, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Parkson Corporation will bring a drinking water purification system to a coastal community in Thailand that was devastated by the tsunami last December.

Crisis Corps volunteer Mark Henley, of Seattle, supervised the construction of the system in Kuk Kak, Thailand and trained local water plant operators. Henley is a returned Peace Corps volunteer who served in Phetchaburi, Thailand from 1989 to 1991. After seeing the devastation caused by the tsunami, Henley was compelled to join the Peace Corps\' Crisis Corps.

"The Thai people were so kind to me when I was a volunteer in Phetchaburi," Henley said. "I felt I had to come back and help out."

 The water treatment plant a few weeks before completion
The water treatment plant a few weeks before completion
Henley\'s expertise as a civil engineer has been instrumental in his work as a Crisis Corps volunteer. He holds both a bachelor\'s and a master\'s degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Washington at Seattle, respectively. Before joining the Crisis Corps, Henley was a facilities engineer for the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Mark\'s project is a model example of how one volunteer can have a tremendous impact and make all the difference to a community, said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

The Parkson Corporation generously donated the $400,000 water purification system in memory of an employee\'s parents who died in the tsunami. In addition, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based company also sent one of its engineers to assist in the project and provided a year\'s supply of treatment chemicals to use in the plant. USAID coordinated support among Parkson, the Thai government, and FedEx to realize the project\'s goals.

On October 3, representatives from Crisis Corps, USAID, and Parkson will join U.S. Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce and Thai government officials for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new water treatment facility.

Over 600 returned Peace Corps volunteers have taken the opportunity to use their invaluable skills and experience to address ongoing community needs in over 30 different countries since Crisis Corps inception in 1996. Crisis Corps volunteers work on short term projects, utilizing the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers and in post service careers. To find out more about the Peace Corps\' Crisis Corps program, please visit the Crisis Corps section.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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