Isaac McNary – Potwin’s champion for the poor

A Potwin native – and our son – Isaac McNary is in East Africa installing solar powered water purification systems in various schools in the country of Tanzania. These systems take bad water and turn it into clear, pure water. Something as simple as clean water can change a child’s life who often misses school because illnesses contracted from drinking bad water.

Isaac went on his first mission trip to Nicaragua with me when he was 15 and something about taking care of the world’s most impoverished gripped him and hasn’t let him go. One of my favorite memories was of him being the Grand Marshall of a parade in an ancient village in Colombia, South America, where we had sent relief food to farmers who had farms wiped out with flooding.

It was 14 years ago that the orchestrated the first meal packaging event for Numana for Haiti, then two weeks later the earthquake hit and he, at the age of 23, did all the logistics packaging 20 million meals and engaging more than 120,000 volunteers in the first six months of 2010 to provide the Salvation Army with meals for Haiti relief.

He was also let go, along with the rest of the staff of Numana by an email in 2012. He was immediately offered a role with The Outreach Program out of Iowa and has been with them ever since.

Another favorite memory I have of him is when he pulled off the four city, 1.8 million meals event for the 9/11 Day foundation in 2017. I was with him in New York City that day when he engaged more than 5K volunteers to package 852,000 meals on the retired aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid.

Since 2009, he has helped hundreds of thousands of volunteers across America package more than 50 million meals for the hungry.

But his real love is going to Africa and installing these systems. His lovely wife, Alana Tilson- McNary, and his sons, Isaiah and Aedric will give up their dad for weeks at a time because they know he’s helping others who need him, too.

Another great part of the story is that Numana recently folded, and The Outreach Program acquired them and their facilities. Now he sits in the corner office at the big desk overseeing the Kansas operations for Outreach. I cannot describe the pleasure that brings me because I remember how devastated he was that day he got the misspelled email from a Numana board member telling him, and the rest of the staff, they were fired. He hung on, kept doing the right thing of caring for the hungry and now he’s leading the Kansas operations for The Outreach Program.

If you would like him to help your organization package meals for the hungry, I would argue there is no one better in America at it than he is. He’s widely known in meal packaging organizations at being the best. He even set a Guinness Book of Records event one year for a legitimate meal packaging event.

Or if you would like to help provide pure drinking water for school kids in Africa or get one of the units for your own group, he builds them in El Dorado. He’s so clever that they have them at 49.5 pounds so you can take them on an airplane as luggage!

Oh, and he’s being groomed by some amazing people in Rotary for a soon-to-be role as District Governor.

Please, go to his page and follow him on his journey.

If you see him out and about, he’ll most likely have Louis with him, one of the finest rescue dogs of all times. Louis is the goodest boy. Or you might run across Isaac in his role on the board for the Butler Homeless Initiative.

The impoverished and downcast of the world both here and abroad have a champion in their corner that grew up in our little town of Potwin. This is a system he just installed today, January 7, 2024.

If you would like to contribute for part of, or all of, one of these systems, please go here: