For many Olympians, it's a tremendous honor to be able to represent their country. For the soldiers and families of Fort Drum, it's also a tremendous honor to be able to represent and serve their country. One New Yorker is now getting the chance to do both. From the diving board in Athens, Greece to the USO on Fort Drum, our Brian Dwyer introduces us to Cassandra Metzler.
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- In 2004, walking through Athens Olympic Stadium, diver Cassandra Metzler lived an American dream.
"Going to the Olympics is very much a surreal and once in a lifetime opportunity," Metzler said. "Making the team, it was the ultimate goal I always wanted to achieve as a diver. I was very, very happy I was able to achieve it."
The Albany native finished seventh in the synchronized diving event, but she says the experience was about so much more than results.
"It was not only about competing in the 10 meter synchronized, but for me, it was about being able to represent our country," she said.
As she was doing that, her husband was holding off on his dream to do the same. When she retired in 2008, he was able to finally join the Army.
"With the support that I got from him, I wanted to be able to support him in his dream in the Army," Metzler said.
That dream brought them from Athens, Greece to, eventually, Fort Drum. And not only did Cassandra Metzler live up to her promise to her husband, she blew it out of the water by joining USO as a volunteer, allowing her to help all of Fort Drum's soldiers and families.
"Every day, soldiers come in here and say thank you to us," she said. "It's been such a great feeling being able to bring a little bit of sunshine to someone's day."
And USO staff says that's exactly what she's done.
"Clearly, she brings a lot of energy," USO Fort Drum Programs Manager Rachel Millios said. "She brings a lot of spunk to our team. The soldiers that come in and the families that come in, they really feed off her positive energy. She comes with a wealth of knowledge and she's obviously a very hard and dedicated worker."
Work that for the first time since retiring four years ago, will bring Metzler back to the pool. She's agreed to help the swim and dive teams at Watertown High School, a place many military children go. A chance for her to once again represent something she says is much bigger than herself.
As for this year's Olympics, Metzler says she's glued to the TV and it has brought back some amazing memories.