Around five years ago, Sterling Heights resident David Lomasney launched a nonprofit that helps deliver medical supplies and provide clean water to people living in Latin America.

Around five years ago, Sterling Heights resident David Lomasney launched a nonprofit that helps deliver medical supplies and provide clean water to people living in Latin America.

Photo provided by David Lomasney


Nonprofit helps change lives by providing clean water

By: Mark Vest | Metro | Published February 4, 2021

 Sterling Heights resident David Lomasney helps provide clean water and medical supplies to people in Latin America.

Sterling Heights resident David Lomasney helps provide clean water and medical supplies to people in Latin America.

Photo provided by David Lomasney

STERLING HEIGHTS — It has been more than five years since Sterling Heights resident David Lomasney made a decision that changed not only the course of his life, but possibly thousands of others.

During the more than 10 years he spent as a missions pastor for a local church, somewhere along the way, Lomasney came to realize that “the need is so great that I wanted to do more.”

Thanks to being a diligent saver and his wife Kathy’s job, at the age of 59, Lomasney was in position to make a bold move.

He decided to step away from his job at the church and start a nonprofit corporation.

That decision led to the launch of Integrity International in 2015.

The bulk of Integrity’s work involves drilling wells so that villages in Latin America can have access to clean water, delivering medical equipment, and helping with the construction of churches.

Integrity has primarily worked in Guatemala in the last five years.

Lomasney said he takes no salary from the funds that come to Integrity via individuals, donors and churches.

Despite being a part of multiple projects, the “primary thing” Integrity has been involved in is well drilling.

“For us as Americans, it’s unthinkable to live without clean water,” Lomasney said.

But that is exactly what many in Latin America are doing, and the stories he hears can help lead to an understanding of how much something so basic in the United States means to others in the world.

“A young father, I would say in his early 30s, came to me at a well celebration and said, ‘Thank you so much for coming and giving us this great well; now my kids can go to school,’” Lomasney said. “I was like, ‘Wait. Stop. … What do you mean your kids can go to school?’ He’s like, ‘Well, I know that I can’t give my kids dirty water to drink; they’ll be sick all the time. So, I have to buy water, and because I have to buy water, I can’t afford to buy uniforms, books and supplies for my kids to go to school. But now, I don’t have to buy water.’”

Lomasney said he learned that in Latin America, many spend 20% of their “meager income” on water.

He shared another story that a man, maybe in his 70s, told one of his “teammates” after a well was drilled.

According to Lomasney, the man said, “Thank you so much for coming and drilling this well for us; now I can die.”

“This older gentleman said, ‘My grandchildren have clean water to drink. I don’t have to worry about whether they can live a healthy life or not,’” Lomasney said. “I don’t know how to describe that kind of impact.”

Troy resident Ken Crum has accompanied Lomasney on trips to Latin America and has also witnessed firsthand the kind of impact Integrity has had.

“Seeing the way these people are impacted — in some cases, we’re an answer to prayer, and it’s very evident,” Crum said. “When you see what’s going on and realize that families are having to choose between their kids continuing education or buying clean water, you understand how blessed we are here.”

Troy resident Vicki Augustiniak’s job as a nurse at a local hospital made her an ideal candidate to serve as Integrity’s director of medical outreach.

She helps collect medical supplies and distribute them through Integrity.

The difference Integrity has made in people’s lives is not lost on Augustiniak.

“For me, the well drilling is gratifying,” she said. “I’m seeing water come out of the ground, knowing it’s improving people’s health.”

Even prior to his work with Integrity, as a missions pastor and former U.S. Marine, Lomasney had already “seen a lot.”

But for those who travel with him who aren’t used to the conditions people in other parts of the world live in, the experience can be an emotional one.

“Because I have a background in traveling, a little bit it’s shocking, but not as much for me as (it is for) a person I take that’s never traveled outside the United States,” Lomasney said. “The culture shock is so big that some people will leave an area and they’ll just be like, weeping, or just not able to control (themselves) emotionally because of the abject poverty that they see people living in.”

The number of mission trips Lomasney takes in a typical year can range from six to 12.

He typically stays a minimum of around two weeks per trip in a motel.

Integrity has helped drill approximately 40 wells over the last five years.

Despite COVID-19, with the help of partners in Latin America, Integrity has been able to continue its work.

The organization has also contributed to food projects in the Dominican Republic, Nicaragu and Guatemala, as well as neighborhood cleanup and blight removal in Detroit.

But for Lomasney, there’s something about being part of well-drilling projects that makes it perhaps the most gratifying part of his work.

He said after the water comes out, “The people know that something amazing has happened in their village.”

“There’s just something about when that first water comes out of that hole,” Lomasney said. “When you see that water coming out of the ground and you know that you’re going to leave a community with a resource that’s so basic, so taken for granted here, there’s something that, inside of yourself, you know that you made this world a better place in some way.”

There’s a variety of ways to contribute to Integrity International. For more information, visit integrityint.org or facebook.com/integrityint.