No country does more for people with disabilities than America. Few do it as well, or with as much love, as the Family Y of Augusta.
And few have ever done a better job of turning a tragedy into a joyous triumph than Katie York's family and friends.
All of that will be on resplendent display at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when the Family Y cuts the ribbon on its new Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center at the Wilson branch, 3570 Wheeler Road.
It's free, everyone is welcome, and tours and other festivities will go to 4 p.m.
It's not just a brand new 34-by-60-foot pool in which 270 children and adults each month will experience the unique delights and fitness benefits of swimming -- with a 42-foot entry ramp, lifting devices and specially-equipped changing rooms and, of course, the Y's compassionate and knowledgeable Adapted Aquatics staff.
It's also a monument to Katie -- a beautiful-inside-and-out young lady who died in May 2008 at just 20 years of age after having battled the viral encephalitis she contracted at 17. Katie was an adapted aquatics instructor at the Y after a stellar swim career at Augusta Christian Schools, and immediately latched onto the Y's idea of a new adapted facility. She promised to help.
She did. Within weeks of her passing, friends of the family had started a fund-raising drive that eventually amassed most of the $1.35 million price tag. The Y covered the rest.
Last year, on what would've been her 22nd birthday, they broke ground. Wednesday, just a year later, on her 23rd birthday, they'll cut the ribbon on the most practical monument ever.
Both in oversized wall mural and eternal spirit, Katie will be there.