Wounded Warriors swim with whales at Ga. Aquarium - New York News

Wounded Warriors swim with whales at Ga. Aquarium

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ATLANTA -

Wounded Warriors were honored with a moment of peace Friday at the Georgia Aquarium. Dozens of the warriors got a chance to swim with the aquarium's whale sharks and belugas.

Georgia Aquarium divers served as guides during the underwater excursion.

U.S. Army retiree John Greer, who was injured during a tour in Iraq in 2006, said that he couldn't wait to get in the water and swim with the whale sharks.

"It'll be exciting because whale sharks are so hard to find in their environment, unless you go to the migratory routes in certain times of year. So it'll be a nice experience," Greer said.

Friday's dive was part of the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride. The three-day rehabilitative cycling event brought 46 injured service members to Atlanta.

The Wounded Warrior project helps active and retired military adapt after suffering life-altering injuries. The physical activity and camaraderie are part of the healing process for those who have paid a great sacrifice for their country.

The Georgia Aquarium designed its program with people with disabilities in mind. They began supported the Wounded Warriors program in 2008.

"It is so important for us to give back. This is the way that we honor these folks in here," said David Kimmel, Georgia Aquarium's president and CEO.

Some taking part in the program said that they felt excitement and a little anxiety as they entered the water.

"We're nervous. I'm nervous. It's amazing. You give me a mission, and I'll get it done. When it comes to the little things like this, you get really nervous," U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Angel Torres.

The nervousness gave way to exhilaration as they came face-to-face with the amazing underwater creatures.

"What's really been critical for us is the letters we get back from these folks. The letters that say, ‘it was the first time I've felt free since my accident.' If that doesn't get to you, then you really don't have a heart," said Kimmel.

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