Students Surprise Wrestling Coach on His 'Alive Day'
Charlotte Co., VA - Students at Randolph Henry High School surprised their wrestling coach Thursday, on the 10th anniversary of the day he lost a leg in Iraq. Every year on that otherwise dark anniversary, Dean Schwartz chooses to celebrate that day to commemorate how fortunate he is to still be alive. Today it was a little different. Randolph Henry High school wrestling and cross country Coach Dean Schwartz thought he was headed to a coaches meeting. However, it was all a plan to lure him into the hallway and surprise him on his Alive Day. "I was honored that they did all this and thought about me like that," said Schwartz. "He's a really awesome guy. He really motivates you and he's going to be there for you when you need something" said cross country runner Hannah Walker. Alive day is the anniversary of the day a soldier was injured during combat. "It feels like just yesterday. So many things have happened but it feels like it's gone by so quickly" said Schwartz. Many veterans choose to celebrate this day to focus on their safe return from the battlefield. "Now it's become more of a day to look back on everything that has happened since and think about how far i've come" said SchwartzSchwartz was on his first tour in Mosul, Iraq when a rocket propelled grenade hit his five ton dump truck, injuring Schwartz and three other soldiers. Schwartz says he's never let his prosthetic leg hold him back. "Skiing is now on one leg instead of two but honestly I think I am a better skier on one leg than on two" said Schwartz. Wrestler Micah Pinchefsky says Schwartz has taught him to never give up. "When you are knocked down you can get back up and still do the same things you did before you were knocked down" explained Pinchefsky. Schwartz also works at Southside Virginia Community College and helps veterans transition back into school and work.