Fishers Resident Breaks Guinness World Record While Helping Others

Writer  /  Janet Striebel  .  Photographer  /  Hannah Switzer

According to, 750 million people lack access to clean water. This is almost 2.5 times the United States population. Every minute a child dies from a water-related disease: more than malaria, AIDS and measles combined. Most of these deaths occur in underdeveloped countries.

“Children walk miles in order to fill containers with clean water and then return to their villages for their families to use,” said Julie McKinney, Fishers resident and member of BridgeWay Community Church. “Being a Third World Country, they do not have easy access to water like we do. However, for only $2.50 (just 10 quarters), a school child in India can have clean water for drinking and bathing for an entire year.

Back in June 2014, Julie and the children at BridgeWay Community Church in Fishers, decided to try and attempt to break a Guinness Book of World Record while raising money for drinking water for children in India.

At BridgeWay’s summer program, called Mission Adventure Week, children collected and donated quarters for the cause. For every quarter they turned in, they received a strip of paper (17 inches x 1 inch) to decorate.

On Sunday, June 22, Julie attempted to break the Guinness World Record by connecting all the lengths of paper to create the Longest Paper Chain made by an individual. She stapled over 4,300 strips of paper into a paper chain measuring exactly 2,556 feet and 5.4 inches (779 meters and 21 centimeters) using a hand stapler.

Although this record attempt was a group effort at BridgeWay, one young boy stood out in helping his mom achieve her goal — Zach McKinney, a 4th grader at Fall Creek Elementary. “I helped her set up before the attempt started,” he said. “I helped her get water, refill staples in the staplers and helped get donations. I was there from the beginning until the end.”

The paper chain was assembled within the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. on June 22 in the parking lot of BridgeWay Community Church. Witnesses volunteered to watch the attempt for 3-hour segments. Two witnesses were present at all times. During the attempt, a celebration was held with bounce houses, games and food. Approximately 400 people attended over the course of the afternoon.

“I have dreamed of being a Guinness World Record holder since I was 8 years old,” says Julie. “I would often look through the Guinness books for ideas. When I found out about BridgeWay’s fundraising opportunity, everything just fell into place.”

This community effort not only helped raise $4,582.50 for drinking water for the children in India, but it also left lasting impressions. “I think about the kids in India getting water even today….I am proud to have a mom that is a world record-holder,” said Zach.

For more information, call 317-577-4159 or visit the website at to learn more.

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