This article was written by Nicole Sterghos Staff Writter for the SunSentinel and was published on January 7th 1996. here is a direct link to the original article: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/1996-01-07/news/9601060399_1_public-pool-pool-barrier-david
Splash of Good Will Touches Boy
Developer, others help give pool to deaf-blind child
David Green is the kind of boy people will pay to see smile.
Just look behind his house in Jupiter Farms, where Boca Raton developer Anthony Pugliese invested $15,000 on the one Christmas gift that makes David shiver and giggle with delight: a swimming pool.
Next to it, you’ll see the deck furniture Pugliese also donated and the security screens Pool Barrier, a Jupiter-area company, contributed. And don’t forget the state-of-the-art pool heater discounted at cost by Air Energy Heat Pump of Pompano Beach. David unknowingly inspires this type of giving.
Though he cannot see or hear, his sense of smell works perfectly, sending shudders through his wiry body whenever his chlorine-soaked swim shorts are waved in front of his face.
To Pugliese, it’s one of the most heartwarming scenes he has ever witnessed.
“He’s a neat kid,” he said of the 11-year-old, blond boy who has touched many hearts over the past several months. “It’s hard for me to talk about. It really chokes me up.”
After reading a newspaper story about David’s inability to communicate and the joy he gets by floating in the public pool, Pugliese decided to put his money where his heart is.
He hired a contractor, and a hole was dug for the 15-foot-by-30-foot rectangular swimming pool just after Thanksgiving. On Christmas Day, David, enveloped in a wet suit because of the wintry holiday weather, stepped his pale foot into his own swimming pool for the first time.
It used to take at least 20 minutes from the time he smelled his swim shorts to the time he could dunk his head underwater at the public pool. Now, it takes 20 seconds.
And by the time he feels the concrete under his feet, he starts the excited shivers and the delighted giggle.
“It’s like a dream come true,” said David’s grandmother, Dolores Green. “Since the day they dug the hole, it’s been nonstop.”
David’s father, Steven, is equally taken aback by Pugliese’s generosity.
“I’ve just been overwhelmed by the whole thing,” he said.
Even the unflappable county commissioner, Mary McCarty, has been surprised by the level of giving David has inspired.
But not too surprised. She remembers all too well being moved to tears last year, when Dolores Green brought David to her office to share her concerns about his lack of progress in the public school system.
Despite a decade in public and private schools, David still cannot communicate the simplest of thoughts, like being hungry, or perform the simplest of tasks, like tying his shoes.
McCarty soon learned that the state and the county’s education system is ill-prepared to handle deaf-blind children like David. She has since launched an effort to initiate a program, and expects to open a residential education center soon.
The compassion for David and his plight has become contagious.
“I never, in my wildest dreams, thought our effort to bring attention to the plight of deaf-blind children in Palm Beach County would lead to such a wonderful gift,” McCarty said. “I think it’s reflective of the spirit of the season and the spirit of giving in Palm Beach County.”
And it won’t end with David, Pugliese said. Bringing such happiness to David’s life has inspired Pugliese to start an annual tradition of Christmas giving for special people like David.
“I probably got more pleasure out of giving than he got out of getting,” Pugliese said. “If one person can make a difference in one person’s life, even once, the world would be a better place.”