Feb. 7, 2014

MILWAUKEE, Wis.- In honor of her five Olympic gold medals, former speed skater Bonnie Blair is working to raise $50,000 ($10,000 in honor of each of her gold medals) during the 2014 Olympics, running February 7-23. The money raised will be used for a special Wellspring of Hope water project in Ethiopia being overseen by Catholic Relief Services (CRS).

“So many people in our world need help,” says Blair. “And from competing, I learned that it doesn’t matter where you are from, our similarities far outweigh our differences. I firmly believe that in today’s technologically advanced world, everyone should have access to safe drinking water.”

According to Joe Cottrell, a leader of the Southeastern Wisconsin Initiative for Catholic Relief Services, “We’d like to thank Bonnie for her huge heart and desire to raise money for a great CRS cause to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her Olympic success. The money she raises will go towards developing five new springs so more than 10,000 Ethiopians will have safe water for household use. It will also help build five new latrines at schools which will benefit many Ethiopian school children.”

Blair became a strong local supporter of Catholic Relief Services’ mission in July 2013. The 70-year-old organization provides direct aid to the underserved around the world. Those interested in donating to Bonnie’s effort can go to www.CRSwi.org for a link to giving.

Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States to serve World War II survivors in Europe. Since then, Catholic Relief Services has expanded in size to reach more than 100 million people in more than 100 countries in five continents. It is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States, and more than 90 percent of every dollar collected goes to uplift the poor. Catholic Relief Services provides training and tools to help people achieve self-sufficiency, not dependency. CRS helps to develop agriculture, schools, housing, water and sanitation. For more information, please visit www.crswi.org.

Bonnie Blair competed in four Olympic Winter Games and set world records in speed skating in the 1988, 1992 and 1994 games. She was the first American woman to win five gold medals and the first American to win gold medals in the same event at three consecutive Olympics. Bonnie and her family reside in southeastern Wisconsin.

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