By FARRAH JOHNSON
AN American woman who drowned while on vacation with her family in Abaco on Wednesday has been identified as Molly F Greene.
According to reports, 72-year-old Mrs Greene was swimming with her grandchildren on Gilliam Bay Beach, Green Turtle Cay when she got caught in a rip current.
A native of South Carolina, Mrs Greene was the co-founder of Water Mission, a non-profit organisation devoted to supplying clean water to developing countries and disaster areas.
Yesterday, her family released a statement describing her death as a “heartbreaking loss.”
“Yesterday, Molly passed away in a tragic accident while on vacation with our family in the Bahamas,” George Greene, Mrs Greene’s son confirmed.
“We mourn the loss to our family. We know that a larger global family mourns with us and celebrates her life, as she blessed so many around the world. We ask for your prayers and request privacy at this time.”
Greene, of Charleston, South Carolina was well known for her significant contributions in working to provide disaster-stricken or impoverished areas access to drinking water, made possible by the filtration systems she and her husband designed, the local Post and Courier reported.
The idea for the group was born from the devastation the couple witnessed in 1998 after Hurricane Mitch, a Category 5 storm, wreaked havoc on Central America, Honduras in particular.
The Greenes, who for years operated GEL, a Charleston-based environmental lab, started the non-profit with a goal of providing clean water to 100 million people within a decade. “Having experienced Hurricane Hugo nine years prior, we understood the urgent need for relief,” Molly Greene wrote in a Thanksgiving column in The Post and Courier. “George felt called to reach out, and sent an email to Leo Frade, the Bishop of Honduras, asking what we could do to help. To our surprise, he received a response the very next day with a specific request, ‘We need six water treatment systems.’”
At the time, she and her husband did not have experience in designing or building such systems, and research revealed that existing systems were too expensive or too inefficient for use in disaster response, Greene wrote.
“Determined not to give up, George pulled out the textbooks and within two hours had sketched out a design for a water treatment system,” she wrote. “Within two days, the team at GEL had built and successfully tested a prototype with the help of Charleston Water System.”
After further work and consulting with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the six water treatment systems were built and shipped.
John Cook, former CEO of Charleston Water System, was involved in the Greenes’ efforts since the beginning when he helped complete those first six treatment systems. “They started with no staff, no money,” Cook said. “If you look at what they have today ... they had enormous faith and enormous vision.”
Molly Greene was eternally optimistic, a trait that never failed to inspire others, he said, adding that he has no doubt that her legacy will continue. “When you talked with her about this mission, she had an unbridled enthusiasm for what we were doing,” Cook said. “It was hard to be around them and not be inspired. That’s one of the traits of great leadership.”
The Rev. Jeffrey Miller, rector at St. Philip’s Episcopal Church where Molly and her husband were members, said he was struck by how Greenes dedicated their lives to helping some of the most vulnerable people around the world and by how much their humanitarian work mirrors the words of Jesus Christ.
“They reached out to the least of these and they made a difference, and it’s a difference that transcends Charleston and transcends the world,” Miller said. “It flows from their faith and it was genuine.”
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