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Man turns travel passion into water project in Valladolid

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A Wisconsin man has helped bring safe drinking water to Valladolid, thanks to some fellow Rotarians. Photo: WXOW

A 30-year-old Wisconsin man’s mission to see all seven continents and seven Wonders of the World led him to explore a new path that’s bringing health benefits to kids.

“The world’s a big place,” said Josh Mansee, who was profiled by a local news station, WXOW.

The La Crosse resident has an ambitious travel goal, but he’s already making good progress. The Great Wall of China, The Coliseum in Rome, Machu Picchu and Chichén Itzá have been crossed off his list of world wonders.

It was during that last trip that Mansee pursued another one of his passions. A member of La Crosse’s Rotary After Hours club, Mansee said he used Rotary International’s Club Finder feature to seek out the local group in Valladolid, which is near the Mayan landmark.

“Even though I don’t speak Spanish,” Mansee said, “I just showed up and said, ‘Hey, I’m a Rotarian. How’s it going?’ ”

It turned out not great — at least when it comes to fresh water. Mansee said most of the water consumed in Valladolid had to be bottled, and soda consumption runs rampant. The Valladolid Rotary Club wanted to do something about that, and so did Mansee. He brought the idea back to La Crosse and using Rotary grants, turned $1,000 in individual donations into $6,000, which was used to buy six water purifiers for a local school in Valladolid.

“It’s for promoting the health of our children and safe water for our city schools,” said a representative from the Valladolid Rotary club.

Mansee said it proves that despite the miles, languages and borders that may separate people, we’re all on a similar sort of mission in life.

“We all want children to be healthy and to build relationships and get to know people, good people, who are trying to make the world a better place,” he said.

Now, Mansee said his own mission will continue, including a planned trip to Antarctica in 2019. But with a twist. He said he’s now keeping an eye out for local clubs in the places he visits to see how La Crosse can continue making an international impact.

He said it’s all thanks to his “curiosity and adventurous spirit” and a desire to see the world for what it really is.

Source: WXOW broadcast

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