SHORT DESCRIPTION:

Vietnam Veteran Robert Denson began taking swim lessons at Asphalt Green, New York City’s only Olympic size pool, in October of 2012. He found new purpose through the Adaptive Swim Program for Veterans after a particularly difficult time in his life when he lost his leg to smoking and his wife left him.

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TRANSCRIPT:

ROBERT: Living alone it has its ups and downs.

I like the solitude but sometimes you miss having people around to talk to.

After my amputation, me and my wife broke up.

I could get angry, but it's not going to solve the problem. Only way to get better is by me making it better, you know.

I havent been swimming in like 20 years.

I started last year, and I fell in love with it all over again.

I have a young daughter so she comes by once a week. She's very supportive of me.

LATIA: It was a hard time for him but he overcame it. And I'm very proud of him.

I'm looking forward to seeing him go off the diving board.

ROBERT: Once I lost my leg it seemed like I don’t have motivation to do other things. Because I thought I had it all.

But when I lost my leg I found out that there’s a lot of thing I wanted to do.

And when I’m in the water, I forget about my leg. You know? I find I could use my arms more than my legs.

Being in the water makes me feel free.

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MORE INFO:

Vietnam Veteran Robert Denson hasn't stepped foot in a swimming pool in 30 years. His life was full, on all accounts, until he lost his leg to poor circulation. It was a result of smoking, which he says, the military encouraged.

After becoming an amputee in 2010, Denson's wife left him, and he was forced to move to a one room apartment in Far Rockaways, Queens. He spent a lot of time being angry, until he started going to some amputee support groups. It was there that he found out about a free Adaptive Swim Program for Veterans at Asphalt Green, the only Olympic size pool in New York City.

Denson eagerly enrolled, and had high hopes that learning to swim again might help him one day walk again, too. On all accounts, Denson is a major success story of the program, but sadly the funding will soon run out.
Share Robert's story and urge the Olympic Committee to continue to fund the Adaptive Swim Program at Asphalt Green.

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LINKS:

nycgovparks.org/parks/asphaltgreen/history
va.gov/adaptivesports/va_grant_program.asp
asphaltgreen.org/category.aspx?catid=2642

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