James King, Waterboys reach Kilimanjaro summit

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- #UPDATE: James King and the Waterboys group he is with has reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kind joined Chris Long's effort to raise money to build wells for African villages for about $50,000 each.

Each well Waterboys builds will last for about 20 years, opening up life-changing possibilities for the communities where they are built.

The ultimate goal is to provide clean, drinkable water to one million people, and the money is collected through fundraising efforts, such as the Conquer Kili climb.

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ORIGINAL:

Once again this spring, Chris Long will lead a group of NFL players and military veterans on a climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

It's a fundraising effort for Long's Waterboys Foundation, which provides deep bore wells for villages in Africa. This time, Long is bringing local reinforcements.

James King has been increasing his time for the past several weeks, preparing for the grueling hike to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and help provide clean water in East Africa.

"As a Marine, I had the chance to serve our country abroad and I don't do that anymore, so I've been looking for ways to serve again, so for me, this is a way to do that," said King.

King is a former University of Virginia lacrosse player, and veteran of two combat tours overseas as a U.S. Marine. He will join the Waterboys Conquer Kili mission in March, and knows a major challenge awaits.

"One of the things they said is once you get above 15,000 feet, your steps are super short, it doesn't matter how much you train, what kind of athlete you are, if you don't train at the altitude normally, it's going to crush you," said King.

King and Long have been friends since the fifth grade, so when the opportunity came up, it's a natural fit.

"I got inspired and called Chris because Chris is my friend, and I've known him a long time," said King. "I respect him as a person, as a player, he's someone who puts his money where his mouth is, he stands up for what he believes in, and I respect that a lot."

King's goal is to raise $15,000, which will go a long way toward the $45,000 cost of building a well. Each well will provide water for 7,500 people for 25 years. In East Africa, it's life changing.

"Not only does it give them clean drinking water so they don't have to make that trip, but they could use that time they would have been getting water to go to school, and better themselves, their livelihood and their future," said King.

Those wells are built in just a couple months time, completely transforming an entire community.

"It's an instantaneous change, that's what I like to see, you want to see the benefits of your hard work. This is something that is instantaneous and can last for generations," said King.

Initially, Waterboys set out to dig 32 wells, one for each NFL franchise. However, the group is already at 53 and has reset the goal to bring clean water to one million people worldwide.

For more information, click on the link in the Related Links box.

To see images from the trip, click on the links in the Related Documents box.



 
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