Couple plans pre-wedding stop at Walk4Water7

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Alex Levatte and Emily Hawkins will begin married life by raising money for Walk4Water7 on April 12.Alex Levatte and Emily Hawkins won’t need to go to Niagara Falls for their honeymoon.

Instead, on the morning of their wedding day — April 12 —they will be heading to Foothills Park to participate in Walk4Water7.

And their friends can participate with them. The wedding guests will be asked to donate to Walk4Water instead of giving wedding gifts.

“I’ve done mission work in Africa, and I’m very passionate about water for Africa,” Hawkins said. “I’ve walked in Walk4Water in the past.”

“My mother is from Africa and this would be a great way to honor her culture while contributing to a great cause,” Levatte said. “Since Em and I have been married before, we thought it would be a good idea for people to donate in lieu of wedding gifts.”

The couple’s idea came as a big surprise to event organizer Linda Favero, but she is enthusiastic about such a unique way to promote Walk4Water7.

Such a happening is sure to give a big boost to an event that has been increasingly popular in Lake Oswego ever since it started in 2008. Last year’s Walk4Water had 400 participants and raised $60,000, which surpassed expectations. This year the goal has been raised to $70,000. The funds raised will be used to dig water wells in Zambia.

On April 12, Hawkins and Levatte will register for Walk4Water7 at 8:30 a.m., then walk with hundreds of others from 9 to 11 a.m. Their wedding will be at Lake Grove Presbyterian Church, which is the home church for both Hawkins and Levatte. Their plan has drawn “very positive” reaction from their friends.

The 2-mile walk is meant to simulate the journey that many residents of Zambia, Africa must make every day to retrieve water. Participants will fill their buckets with water from the Willamette River and then return to the starting point. Walk4Water was designed to raise awareness and generate funds for clean water, sanitation and hygiene for 1,200 Zambian villagers.

The event will feature African drumming, music by the Lewis & Clark Marimba Ensemble, water education exhibits, refreshments and merchandise for sale.

A special guest will be Sebastian Kunda from World Vision Zambia. He will give a first-hand account of how water wells are changing the lives of Zambian people.

Children will play a major role in the event. In addition to Lake Oswego public schools, students from Riverdale and Westside Christian high schools will be working as volunteers and walking.

Favero said that the walk will be held rain or shine. Everyone is invited to bring their own bucket and to invite friends and family. Just like Emily Hawkins and Alex Levatte.

Registration for Walk4Water7 can be made online at The registration fees are $35 for an adult, $70 for families and $10 for children and students.

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