Amy Van Dyken-Rouen was named Grand Marshal of the 44th Annual Fiesta Bowl Parade, which kicks off at 11:00 AM tomorrow. She’s not a football player but an athlete in her own right – as a six time gold medal winner in swimming, with four trips to the podium in the Atlanta Olympics in 1996 alone.
You’ll want to know the story to understand why there will be an extreme roar of the crowd as her float passes by when she opens this year’s parade. You see, Amy had a tragic ATV accident in Arizona this summer severing her spinal cord and paralyzing her from the waist down. We all know you can’t keep a good athlete down for long, and this story proves just that.
Amy took on this extreme challenge of recovery and made it a win-win for others. Not only is her focus on her own recovery but she is partnering up with her husband, Tom Rouen, former punter for the Denver Broncos, in creating a charity for spinal cord injuries and the cure.
But that’s not all that happened, and as she was working on a plan of recovery for herself and others, the national news drew the attention of a real estate remodeler and his team.
There has always been a link between sports and real estate and this tie in comes with a unique twist. George Oliphant, host of the home remodeling show “George to the Rescue,” heard of the tragic event and remodeled Amy and her husband’s home while she was in the hospital recovering. In fact, a unique and novel idea for storing and accessing clothes in anyone’s home closets can be seen here on the video.
This inspirational story and the commitment of philanthropic entities such as the Ziegler Fiesta Bowl Museum, shows the “Spirit of the Southwest” on many fronts and is a testament to this year’s parade theme “Spirit of the Southwest”.
Don’t forget, the Fiesta bowl parade kicks off at 11:00 am tomorrow!
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