Lake County man delivers clean water to Flint

LAKE COUNTY — With the residents of Flint still suffering from the tainted water crisis gripping their city, they received a little help from Lake County.

Born in Flint but a longtime resident of Lake County, Shawn Coffey is a man who says he enjoys helping others. He, along with the community group Concerned Citizens of Lake County, began a water collection on Jan. 19, and in the span of only a few days received almost 200 cases of water. Coffey drove them to Flint on Jan. 23.

"I think people in a community have to do what they can to make lives better," said Coffey. "People are always complaining about problems, but I want to do something about it. People over there need help and I think I can make a difference."

Coffey filled the back of his pickup truck and a trailer full of cases of water and traveled across the state. He distributed them throughout his father's Flint neighborhood to try and ease the burden on the families living there and the organizations trying to bring in help.

Among the major contributors were several Baldwin businesses including Wesco, Gramma's Treats, Baldwin Lumber and Lake Osceola State Bank.

The crisis began when the city of Flint decided to switch from Detroit's water system to a newer, closer system. In the interim, water was being pumped out of the Flint River. The polluted water corroded pipes and caused dozens of lead poisoning cases among residents drinking the water.

Coffey said he wants to keep politics out of the collection and focus on getting help to people who need it. He expressed his thanks to everyone who contributed.

"I want to thank everyone in Lake County for taking part in this," remarked Coffey. "This isn't an Idlewild thing or a Baldwin thing, this was people from all around the county coming together."

Due to the success of this water collection, Coffey is planning an additional collection and trip to Flint. He has not set a date yet, but updates can be found on the Concerned Citizens of Lake County Facebook page.