BURNT HILLS: Will ride for water

Gasparovic rode through rain, snow and even a hailstorm that hit his hometown of Charlton. In better weather, he averaged 36 miles a day. He rode north to Ballston Spa and south to Schenectady and eventually to Sacandaga Lake.

"I only went about 12 miles an hour, and when I got to steep hills, you'd better believe I got off and walked my bike up," said Gasparovic.

By the end of the year, he had raised $1,900. That money is being donated to Pure Water for the World, an organization founded by a Vermont Rotarian in 1994, which provides water filters to villages in need.

"Some people donated a penny a mile, some a nickel, and they were surprised how quickly it racked up," said Gasparovic with a laugh.

The project has made a mark on Gasparovic, who, like many people, routinely think nothing about the clean water flowing from the kitchen and bathroom faucets.

"I used to leave the water running when I shaved," said Gasparovic. "You have to think about it. We use clean water every time we flush the toilet, and people are drinking filthy water used by animals."

BH-BL Rotary Club president Ron Serapilio said Gasparovic's commitment is inspiring to all club members.

"When he learned about the widespread suffering of innocent people by the thousands, he took action," said Serapilio. "Mark has shown us that one person's commitment can start a movement, and great strides can be made, step by step, or in this case, mile by mile on a bicycle." ""

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