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Fred Lewis leads fellow Philly seniors in keeping our city's tap water safe

The group of senior citizens dipping test tubes into Wissahickon Creek has their work cut out for them. As members of the Senior Environment Corps (SEC), a volunteer organization house at Center in the Park - an active adult community on Germantown Avenue - these volunteer men and women are environmental watchdogs. You're as likely to see them running a batter of tests from the banks of local rivers, creeks and streams on the hottest days of summer as you are during winter's deep freeze.

This is a year-round job. No one gets paid. Just about everyone's old enough to collect Social Security. And ever since the group partnered with the Philadelphia Water Department to keep an eye on local waterways throughout the region, their impact on our ecosystem is undeniable...

...Led by Fred Lewis, a charasmatic 81-year-old, the volunteers average in age from 55-85 and come from all walks of life. There's a former bus driver, social worker, amateur paleontologist, Harvard-trained chemist and several retired grade school teachers, computer geeks and homemakers in the group.

Lewis himself is no stranger to environmental concerns, having spent a lifetime rethinking better water treatment practices as a management consultant in the laundry industry. He's come to anticipate all the usual environmental afflictions over the years, and has found new ways to surmount the seemingly impossible: by calling attention to these ecological issues to anyone who will listen.

Excerpt from Grid magazine October 2009 - Issue 8
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