Come Celebrate the Freedom Of Sailing
The man in the wheelchair had come to buy a membership for his son. The lady behind the desk at the Clearwater Sailing Center was not settling for that.
"Why not a membership for yourself?" she asked.
The man glanced down at his legs. "It should be obvious," he said. "My legs don't work. Haven't for three years. What would I do with a membership in a sailing center?"
"What does work?" asked the lady. "Can you blow in a straw? I have a boat you can sail. Does just one finger move? We have a joy stick for you. One of our sailors steers with her chin," she added, "That's what our sailability program is all about."
On June 29, Sailability Greater Tampa Bay, Inc. will celebrate seven years of putting people who thought it couldn't happen, into sailboats. A Sailability anniversary celebration will be held at the Clearwater Sailing Center next Sunday, June 29, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., followed by a cake cutting and information on the Sailability program. The public is invited.
During the day sailboat rides will be available to guests. The Sailability staff will be demonstrating some of the improved ADA dock facilities and other adaptive equipment, including a boat sailed by a U.S. Veteran with quadriplegia who is dependent on a ventilator.
Guests of honor will be Sailability participants of all ages who are using incredible new devices that allow them to experience the freedom of sailing on their own. Other guests of honor will be some of the wounded warriors from Iraq and Afghanistan combat, recuperating at the local Veterans Administration Hospitals.
A highlight of the day will be a ride in the Miss Beverly, a 24 foot pontoon boat donated by Paralyzed Veterans of America to MacDill Air Force Base for use by paralyzed veterans. The boat is named "Miss Beverly" after local Congressman Bill Young's wife, Beverly, who made it possible.
Everyone is welcome to come and help celebrate. Reservations may be made with Sandy Ackley at 727-489-9468. Donation of $10 a person is requested to help defray the cost of boats and insurance.
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