Building Hope

by cam smith

Jared White had always been passionate about two things: helping people and swimming.  Both came naturally to him.  He had grown up in a foster home of eight kids and was always on hand to help his foster mother and father.  This carried into his life outside of the home as well.

He was always looking for a way to help someone who needed it.  He thoroughly enjoyed it.  Jared’s other passion, swimming, was a little bit different.  It had not come as naturally to him.  He remembered knowing how to swim but being afraid of the water from an early age.  The water frightened him because of an incident that had occurred while in the care of his negligent biological parents.  However, Jared’s foster father, a high school swim coach, had helped him get over his fear in middle school, and had him join the swim team.  Ever since then Jared had loved swimming.  He was no longer afraid of the water, but embraced it.  He felt like he became a part of it.

Jared had gone on to high school and had joined the swim team there as well, coached by his foster father.  He had excelled and had won many trophies and awards.  A swimming college scholarship was awarded to him, and he had gone on to swim at the state university successfully for four years.  He even qualified for the Olympics several times, set three records, and earned a good share of medals, including 10 gold.

Jared had married his college sweetheart, a fellow college swimmer named Beth, and later had two children.  He had lived a full and wonderful life already and was so grateful.  Now, Jared was a 34-year-old retired Olympic swimmer.  He was living at home with his family with really nothing much to do but enjoy his success.  He was happy with his life, but he knew that there was still more to be done;  something was still missing.  Jared thought long and hard about this over a span of several months.  He put a lot of thought into it until he finally had a revelation.  Jared’s foster mother suffered from a bad case of fibromyalgia and had spent some time doing water therapy to relieve the pain.  He remembered sometimes helping her get in the pool and then later hearing talk about how she felt better after the time spent in the pool.  It really gave him a good feeling when he got to help her during her therapy.  Jared wanted this for more people.  He knew how much he loved water and wanted to help others enjoy it and even feel better from spending time in it like his mother did.  It had been a place of comfort for her and himself and he wanted to make it the same for others who were hurting.

Jared had plenty of money and he really didn’t see the point of hoarding it if he could help others.  He decided then that he would open a foundation for ailing people to come and enjoy water therapy and exercises, as well as massages.  He shared this idea with his wife and business partner, and together they set up their foundation.  It was difficult at first because the building they had purchased needed plenty of renovations.  But eventually, the place was ready and only in need of staff.  Jared had to make plenty of phone calls and had hired the best available doctors, physical therapists, and lifeguards he could find.  Six weeks later after inspection and plenty of paperwork for the appropriate licenses, it was time for the Paula’s Therapeutic Pools & Springs, named after his foster mother, to open.  When news got around that a famous Olympic swimmer had opened a water therapy facility in the area, applications for membership began to pour in and the population grew.

Nothing made Jared and wife happier than seeing the people, both young and old, filled with hope as they slowly entered the pool and filled with joy once they felt the pain in their body recede.  As many times as he could, Jared would help the physical therapists with the patients just like he used to help his mother.  He truly felt happy in this business.  He had successfully fused his two passions into one.  And he felt complete.

Success for him was not just winning tons of medals and enjoying the money they brought him, but it was also rebuilding hope for people who had lost it.  To Jared, there was no greater definition of success.

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