by Cindy Kreifels, Groundwater Foundation Executive Vice President
Today I learned that the world has lost a hero, a groundwater hero that is. Vernon Haverstick, 91, of El Paso, Texas passed away on February 11, 2010. I had the pleasure of meeting Vern and his wife Ann many years ago because of the great work has done on behalf of groundwater.
Vern became involved in groundwater protection in 1989 by participating in the El Paso Wellhead Protection Project. Vern learned of the project through the El Paso Retired Senior Volunteer Program and took the initiative to assist in recruiting 23 citizen volunteers to conduct a potential contaminant source inventory around El Paso’s 144 public water supply wells. Vern helped to write a “how-to” manual describing the methods utilized which the EPA has distributed in many states throughout the country and has been translated into several languages and distributed in other countries. The methodology, techniques, and inventory forms developed by Vern and his team of volunteers to conduct comprehensive groundwater protection inventories have been utilized by communities throughout the nation. Vern and his team of volunteers also inventoried drinking water supplies and septic tank systems in the colonias throughout El Paso County, and he served as a mentor for many students participating in a bi-national groundwater protection project.
Vern was a perfect example of the action that could and should be taken locally to help protect groundwater resources. In 1996, The Groundwater Foundation had the honor to recognize Vern Haverstick for his achievements. Today, we do the same. Vern was a true friend to groundwater, the kind every community needs.