BREEZY POINT, N.Y. (CBS 2) — Wounded warriors from around the country are headed to the Rockaways as part of the healing process.
Chris Melendez lost his leg in Baghdad when he was hit by an IED in 2006. Two years later, Anthony Maschek was shot up in a raid near Kirkuk. They’re now learning to scuba dive as part of their road to recovery.
“It helps immensely mostly because it shows you’re still capable of accomplishing things you never thought, even prior to injury,” Melendez told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.
“It really helps guys like me kind of figure out what else they can do, how else we can be a part of the community. It shows us that people really do care about seeing us,” Maschek said.
About 50 wounded warriors from around the country — many from Walter Reed Army Hospital — will be coming to Queens as part of the Adaptive Water Sports Festival.
Injured veterans and their families will be out in the pool or in the water trying just about everything you can imagine — from water skiing to sailing to kayaking.
Volunteer instructors said they were learning a lesson of a lifetime. They said that they have been moved to tears while working side by side with injured veterans.
Those tears come from everyone — even the most hard-nosed divers like Frank Ancona.
“Being a former Marine, and being a firefighter and being there at 9/11 and knowing what happened to us. These guys took on the battle after 9/11, they’re all heroes to us,” Ancona said.
The festival runs through the weekend and all the veterans and their families stay with host families in the area.
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