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Champions show water is for everyone

Posted: June 13, 2012 - 12:11am  |  Updated: June 14, 2012 - 7:03pm
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Volunteers on jet skis keep watch over those in the adaptive water skis at Clarks Hill Lake on Saturday.  Photo by Scott Rouch
Photo by Scott Rouch
Volunteers on jet skis keep watch over those in the adaptive water skis at Clarks Hill Lake on Saturday.

Twitter @ScottRouch

 

 

Champions Made From Adversity showed that anyone can have fun on the water Saturday at the Fort Gordon Recreation Area at Clarks Hill Lake.

Partnering with Georgia Health Sciences Medical Center, CMFA hosted the sixth annual adaptive water skiing event for children and adults with disabilities.

Powerboats towed dozens of children on inner tubes and adaptive water skiing equipment. After a break for lunch, the adults took a turn.

CMFA founder and board Chairman Jeff Snover said there were about 20-25 participants the first year the nonprofit group held the event. By noon, there had been 12 walk-ups in addition to the 60 who registered for the event.

‘‘The numbers are great, and obviously the more folks we’re bringing in the more awareness we’re bringing to them about what is available,” said Snover. “The main thing is getting them out and letting them have their day, at least once.”

Many hoped the event might prove therapeutic for the participants.

Elijah Johnson, 4, moved to the Augusta area from Chicago two years ago following a diagnoses of post-traumatic brain disorder after years of abuse.

“It’s a lot of fun. He loves the water,” said Elijah’s grandfather Greg Johnson. “We’re hoping that being around a lot of kids will bring him out of what he’s been going through.”

Troy Williams Brooks, a 15-year-old who is a wheelchair, felt a need for speed after his turn at water skiing.

“It was fun,” said Brooks. “I wish they had gone faster.”

Making the day possible was a crew of volunteers that numbered about 125, according to Snover. In addition to those that helped people in and out of the water, or provided support during the day, the seven boats doing the towing were owned and operated by volunteers, as were the jet skis that helped provide safety watches out on the water.

“It’s the same boat drivers we’ve had the last three or four years,” Snover said. “We get in contact with them as soon as we set the date and it’s just a great thing.”

One of those boats is owned by Scott Winkler, CMFA co-founder and vice chairman. ‘‘We wanted to get the kids out here and show them and their parents that they can do anything on the water,” he said.

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