Rob Van Winkle, AKA Vanilla Ice, has a cool new project.
The rapper, actor and television host teamed up with Van Kirk & Sons Pool Company of Deerfield Beach, along with the Darrell Gwynn Foundation, to provide a sparkling, brand-new rehabilitation pool for a paralyzed firefighter and paramedic absolutely free of charge.
Derek Avilez, of Davie, sustained a spinal cord injury in a skim boarding accident at the beach with his family four years ago. Since then, the determined Avilez has been rehabilitating. The injury left Avilez paralyzed and reliant upon a wheelchair to get around.
Since the injury, Avilez has been very active as a Prevention Educator at schools, groups and organizations on behalf of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.
After hearing his story, Bobby and Tim Van Kirk, president and vice president of Van Kirk Pools, knew they wanted to help.
After partnering with Van Winkle, they were able to break ground on the sparkling new pool which was specially constructed for rehabilitation purposes.
The Avilez family finally got a chance to cool off in that brand new pool for the first time Friday, joined in the water by the Van Kirk brothers and Van Winkle.
The feeling of weightlessness in the water will not only aid in Avilez' rehabilitation, but will help him connect with his three children in a way he hasn't been able to in a very long time.
"One of the biggest things, besides the physical, by far is being with my kids in the water," he says.
Founded by champion Racer Darrell Gwynn and his wife, Lisa, the Darrell Gwynn Foundation is an organization dedicated to providing support for people living with paralysis and to the prevention of spinal cord injuries.