A Pool For Hudson

Eric Herman Headshot
Spot716 Group Feat

It's called skeletal dysplasia syndrome, a genetic disorder so rare there is only one known case of it in the world today: Walter "Hudson" Hayes, age 6.

Hudson is forced to spend his days in a special brace to support his torso. Despite his condition, for which there is no known cure, the boy's rambunctious spirit, and his love of professional wrestling, has captured hearts in and around his hometown of Dyersburg, Tenn.

Last year, Hudson walked for the first time in a swimming pool with the help of a physical therapist. The freedom he experienced prompted his parents to look for ways he could access the water on a regular basis. As luck would have it, Gayla Lane, the local area coordinator for the Dream Factory, a national wish-fulfillment organization that was working with the Hayes family, is the sister of Mike Alford, owner of Mike's Pools & Spas, also located in Dyersburg.

Lane shared Hudson's story with her brother, who immediately decided to mobilize the local industry. "Hudson is an amazing young man," Alford said. "When you meet him it just touches your heart, so I wanted to see if there was some way we could help make his dream of having a pool come true."

Working with POOLCORP's Regional Manager Mike Lilly, Alford pulled together the materials, equipment and labor needed to build an in-ground package pool for Hudson and his family. On May 25 to 27, Alford, along with local competitor Aloha Pools & Spas and a host of suppliers, installed the pool while Hudson and his family were out of town. When they returned, Hudson was greeted by dozens of well wishers, local news crews and a brand-new swimming pool.

"It was amazing how competitors came together to make it happen," Alford recalls. "Everyone involved was committed to doing whatever it took."

As it turned out, the team was forced to work through pouring rain, but remained undeterred. By the time Hudson and his family arrived, the pool was full and ready for Hudson's first dip. By the following Monday, Hudson had already used the pool every day and boasted about his progress moving in the water.

"It's amazing to think that something so simple as a swimming pool can make such a big difference in someone's life," Alford says.

Key donations included a pump, filter and heater from Zodiac; a lift from Pentair, a Cardinal Systems pool structure and a Latham vinyl liner.

Page 1 of 173
Next Page
Content Library
Dig through our best stories from the magazine, all sorted by category for easy surfing.
Read More
Content Library
Buyer's Guide
Find manufacturers and suppliers in the most extensive searchable database in the industry.
Learn More
Buyer's Guide