Leon McLaughlin is a businessman of many talents. He has sold coffee machines in Canada, earned a real-estate license in California, and now owns and runs a shoe-shine stand in central Seattle.
A few years ago, Leon had an experience that changed his life and unexpectedly led him to start another business. While traveling on a vacation to Mexico, a local woman told Leon a story that changed his life.
She had a get-together at her home earlier that week. A well-meaning American visitor asked to use her bathroom. When he came out, he explained that he helped her out by draining the extra water that was stored in her bathtub. The woman broke down into tears. “You see, that was my water for the entire month,” she explained to her American guest.
Not only did it bring Leon’s Mexican friend to tears, but it also brought him to action. He immediately knew what had to be done: find a way to bring clean water to the world’s poor, especially children.
After some investigation and enrollment in water systems repair and maintenance classes, Leon decided to establish another business. This time he would start a non-profit, to bring his clean water equipment to the developing world.
LAM, LLC — or Leon A. McLaughlin — was founded with one mission: to address the critical need of the world’s clean water shortage by buying and sending purification equipment to where it is most needed. With the need for clean water in so many countries around the world, Leon sought the advice of an organization with some experience, World Vision.
“When I initially called World Vision to share my clean water vision with them, to my surprise, they listened with open minds and open hearts,” he explains.
The first water filtration machine was donated to World Vision and sent to Bolivia shortly after floods ravaged the country in February 2008. During his December trip to Bolivia with World Vision to see his filtration systems at work in several communities, and meet with local officials, Leon was touched even more deeply.
“It’s almost like seeing another Hurricane Katrina in the U.S., when you see how the children and their families are displaced,” he said. “You could see that there was a desperate need for clean water.
“The children had hope in their eyes, and need help. I’m glad that I’m part of this mission with World Vision, to be able to bring these children and their families clean drinking water.”
images are from seattletimes.nwsoure.com and beingthedifference.com, link is to World Vision article about Leon McLaughlin – visit the link to see the NBC news segment as well.