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John's Story

Splash! Dive...Breathe...Dig...Stretch...Kick...Come On!

John Williams is a consummate swim coach. He literally lives and breathes swimming, instructing, coaching, mentoring. This guy is good. This guy is determined. This guy is serious. I am not the only one who thinks so. If you Google John K. Williams you will find a myriad of articles that say just that. He has spent the better part of his life working to improve the field of Adaptive Aquatics. In fact, there is an award named after him called the John K. Williams International Adapted Aquatics Award. This is a prestigious award to honor an individual who has made significant and substantial contributions to the field of adapted aquatics as a participant, athlete, teacher/instructor, coach, organizer, administrator or media representative. This award is established by the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

In late 2006, John experienced some medical set backs. He had to have major surgery on his neck. The recuperation period was extensive and required John to have more intensive supports than his Independent Living Services agency was able to provide. He was then referred to Life Works for SLS. John was highly motivated to get back into the pool. He worked really, really hard. Unfortunately the next 2 1/2 years were wrought with medical set backs both Orthopedically and Internally. There were a series of 5 more surgeries and other intrusive medical procedures, including Herrington Rods, a halo was in place for 6 months, a G-Tube, pic-line antibiotics, a hospital stay lasting over 2 months, physical therapy, occupational therapy, pureed diet, live in staffing, and a myriad of other life changing scenarios. John’s esteem was rocked but he never lost the desire to get back into the pool. This enthusiasm is clearly what kept John alive during that painful struggle.

Now John is on the other side of most of his medical issues. He is back in the pool! He has yo-yo’d from receiving only a few hours of support per day to 24/7 support a dozen times. He is the perfect scenario depicting why supported living is such a powerful support design. Flexibility is critical. It means the difference between living in a skilled nursing facility and living in your own apartment living the life you choose.

John continues to teach and mentor. He requires that everyone on his support team be willing and able to get into the water with him. He is still associated with Camp Able and is driven to help people reach their maximum potentials. Being a teacher is just part of his make-up. Life Works is fortunate to have him on their training staff as a speaker to the Orientation class. John is a classy, incredibly intelligent and focused man that we learn from every day.



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