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Wounded vets swim with dolphins in Fla. Keys

Jan. 11, 2014 - 05:03PM   |  
Brian Taylor
Retired soldier Bryan Taylor, who lost a leg in Afghanistan, enjoys a dorsal tow at Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Fla., on Friday. (Andy Newman/The Associated Press)
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Army Ranger 1st. Lt. Nathan Rimpf, who lost his legs in Afghanistan, gets a dolphin kiss at Dolphin Research Center in Marathon, Fla., on Friday. (Andy Newman/The Associated Press)

MARATHON, FLA. — Dozens of wounded military veterans got some dolphin therapy in the Florida Keys this week when they got to swim with the mammals.

At the Dolphin Research Center, retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Robert Rivera rode the dolphin’s dorsal fin and shook the mammal’s flipper Friday. Rivera sustained a spinal injury in Iraq in 2010.

Rivera said he was most excited to see the reactions of his comrades, many of whom lost limbs in Iraq or Afghanistan or are suffering from injuries that are not visually apparent.

The dolphin visit was part of Soldier Ride, organized by the nonprofit Wounded Warrior Project. About 50 wounded military veterans and their supporters are participating in the combination bus and bicycle trip through the Florida Keys.

Soldier Ride ends Sunday in Key West.

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