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Thursday, 04 July 2013 11:15

He's Smiling on the Other Side Now

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Takoda was all smile Takoda was all smile

It tends to happen like clockwork - just like New Year's Eve will always be the last
week of December, folks around Georgia can count on the first part of June as our
chance to connect with Henry County Special Olympics and get out on the water at the
Cubihatcha Reservoir.  It is a great time - we splash, we play, we fish, we poke fun
at one another, and we celebrate the sucesses that we have seen in a few short years.

This year I paddled with some Olympians that would never have thought about getting
on the water four years ago. Today they are as comfortable in a yak as they are in their
own bed.  But we still get folks in the boat for the very first time each year and it will
always be a joy to do so. We talk less these days - and that's a good thing.  A quick
welcome, a few thank yous and we are on the water. Nobody is long winded anymore.  Thank
goodness.

We did have to add in a goodbye this year and it was painful for all. Last year Takoda
was one of those who was on the water for the first time.  His disability was such that
we had to take him out, hold him up and paddle for him. HE LOVED IT!  He smiled from ear to ear
and he was smiling even more back on shore with his mom. I often stop to think that if
it were not for Paddle4Tomorrow - specifically if it were not for Jaime and Zack who took
him out, Takoda would never have had that moment of great joy. Takoda passed away between
our 2012 and 2013 events and it was a sad moment when we acknowledged his passing. His smile
will always be with us, but he's smiling on the other side now. He's in a place now where the
water is always warm, the wind is a mere cool breeze, and he paddles himself with a nice
lightweight carbon fiber paddle.

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