Sarasota News Leader

11/08/2013

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Sarasota News Leader November 8, 2013 Schwanger, who uses a wheelchair, began rowing after her cancer diagnosis, she points out, when she was living in Philadelphia. "[The sport] got me back from all the treatments," and, she admits, "I was in the right place at the right time." She made the US Paralympic Rowing Team and won a Bronze medal the first year adaptive rowing was part of the Paralympic Games, in Beijing in 2008. Page 102 the role of challenger, encouraging others to try adaptive rowing. "Even if that's my role, that's OK." THE COMMITMENT Like Thom, Magner has warm praise for Kenney and the other volunteers with Operation Second Chance. "It's probably the best part of all," Magner notes. "Everybody's "It's a great sport," she adds with a smile as broad as one of Thom's. "A lot of fun; an awful just ultra generous. … How can you not want to be part of that." lot of fun." Schwanger adds, "There are so many great A Lutz resident, Magner was in Sarasota for adaptive sports organized down here [in his second retreat. Florida], and to find an accessible dock! I just "Kevin is fricking awesome," Magner adds. can't describe how excited I am." "[He goes] back to that whole leading by Another participant of the Operation Second example thing." Chance group, a veteran of the Army Infantry, was Dustin Magner, 36. Like Schwanger, he "You rarely see this amount of support in any has to use a wheelchair on dry land, but he state," Thom points out. "Kevin's a really good readily gave adaptive rowing a try. guy." "It's appealing because there is growth," In some places, Thom continues, wounded Magner says. "You can see where the sport's veterans "are paraded around." That does not going. … If you catch it at the right time, you happen in Sarasota, he says. can expand with it." Chambers emphasizes what Blackketter Magner continues, "I went from a lifestyle of pointed out, that the Operation Second physical fitness. I want that, and it's hard to Chance volunteers in Sarasota "don't treat achieve." [the veterans] any differently" than they Being out on the water, he continues, is "a would a person without a disability. smoker. I wasn't even doing that good a job. Kenney makes regular trips to Walter Reed I'm exhausted." and other military hospitals. But he is eager for the challenge, he adds. "I want to see what potential is there. … I defi- "It was a life-changing experience for me to nitely hope to be able to be part of it as time have a son in war," Kenney explains. Referring and physical ability permit." to the wounded veterans, he adds, "Their While the "aura of competition" is a big reality was my worst nightmare. … My opporattraction, he explains, he would be happy in tunity to give back is … what drives me." %

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