Wounded Warriors swim with dolphins in Florida Keys

Wounded veterans and their families got to swim with dolphins in the Florida Keys.

The event capped off the “Soldier ride” cycling event from Key Largo to Key West. Jennifer Mackinday of Indiana said the experience was a chance to relax and have fun with her brother, U.S. Army Specialist James Smith. Smith suffered a traumatic injury during his deployment to Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

“The stronger that he gets, the less that he needs me,” she said, “but what we need from other is to be siblings again, not caregiver and patient. In fact, I was more reluctant than he was to get in the water and to be with dolphins. It just shows you how much I need my brother and how far we’ve come to be able to be just brother and sister again, and have a good time.”

The group shared flipper shakes, high fives, and dorsal fin tugs at the Dolphin Research Center in Marathon. The solider ride participants started their ride Friday along the Overseas Highway, ending in Key West.