By Marcelle Dibrell
This is the story of an American hero, and a pool industry who wants to thank him for his service.
On Aug. 7, 2011, Sgt. Brian Jergens was severely injured during his first deployment in Afghanistan. Sgt. Jergens was the driver of the fourth HUMVEE in a convoy when an IED blast hit his vehicle.
He was thrown from the vehicle by the blast. Life-saving measures performed by his teammates prepared him for medevac to Tarin Kowt Hospital and then to the Kandahar Airfield Hospital. He was next transported to Bagram Air Force Base and later flown to Landstuhl, Germany.
As a result of the blast, Jergens lost both of his legs below the knee, suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, hearing loss, internal organ damage, a broken neck and damage to his right elbow.
On Aug. 14, 2011, he arrived at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX, where he remained for a month. He was then transferred to the Palo Alto Poly Trauma Center, where he continues his rehabilitative therapies to this day, including one of his favorite activities: swimming.
This is where the pool builder comes in.
In 2013, Jergens and his wife moved into their new home in Hollister, California, built for them by the veterans’ organization, Homes for Our Troops.
During the construction of his new home, Jergens began to meet his neighbors. As luck would have it, the renowned pool designer and builder, Paolo Benedetti, president of Aquatic Technology Pool and Spa, lives in the house next door.
Learning that Jergens wanted a pool for physical therapy, Benedetti took on the project with zeal, and began construction in early August.
This is where the pool manufacturers come in.
Benedetti was inspired by Jergens’ sacrifice to his country, and wanted to thank him for his service with a pool that has every bell and whistle.
Knowing that such project would be expensive, Benedetti began to solicit pool equipment manufacturers for the materials needed to outfit the pool.
The response he received was impressive. Donors include: Alcantar Steel and Excavation, Aquamatic Pool Covers, Aqua Gunite, ClearWater Tech Ozone, Delta UV, The Don Chapin Co. (aggregates and concrete), Joseph Albanese Concrete, Lynx Barbeques, PebbleTec, Pentair, SCP, Waterways Plastics, and Zodiac, and numerous cash donations from industry professionals.
This is where the pool service technician comes in.
In addition to pool equipment, Benedetti knew that he was going to need a lot of help in the actual construction of the pool.
“I started putting feelers out to people I know in the industry, and people started to step up,” Benedetti said.
Among those who stepped up was long time friend, John Oldfield, who is president of the Monterey Coast IPSSA Chapter.
Oldfield couldn’t wait to get involved. He believes that Jergens is a soldier who has made an incredible sacrifice, and faces incredible adversity.
“It makes me feel whole that in my little way, I can help an individual,” Oldfield said.
Currently, construction is still very much in its early stages.
Benedetti, Oldfield and IPSSA chapter member Mike Nelson recently tore out Jergens’ entire deck with a couple of sledgehammers.
This is where IPSSA got involved.
In mid-October, Oldfield was voted to Director of IPSSA Region 10, and brought the Jergens matter up at his regional meeting.
He began by telling everyone in his region that they needed help with permit fees.
Region 10’s response was swift: within 5 minutes he had collected the money they needed.
He also requested help with labor.
In addition to their obvious need for assistance, Oldfield believes that getting the hands-on construction and pool building experience will be an invaluable lesson for his IPSSA regional members.
He therefore invited them to volunteer to help in this construction work.
In the week since he put out his requests, Oldfield has already received pledges of service and he hopes to see at least seven people on their next day of work.
And that is where everyone can get involved.
They are getting ready to begin the plumbing. Setting skimmers, LED lights, and plumbing the spa jets is very labor intensive — not to mention the extensive equipment pad that will span 24 feet in length!
Shortly after the rough plumbing is complete, they will be ready to put in the steel rebar, and will need help putting the wire ties on every crossed bar. This is a job that takes a lot of time, and the more help they can get, the faster it can go.
And there is lots of other work that service technicians can do: there’s concrete to break up, there are trenches to dig, there are conduits to run: the list goes on and on.
So Benedetti and Oldfield are asking for help, because completion time depends entirely on how much help and support they can get.
“If we had 30 or 40 people show up each weekend, we’d have this pool done in a matter of weeks,” Oldfield said.
They are looking for volunteers with any level of experience whether it be 20 years or 20 minutes, whether they are in the region or not, IPSSA members, or independent.
“It’s a worthy cause, for a worthy individual,” Oldfield said.
And where is there a better way to learn how a pool works than to help build one from ground up?
Project Build Brian A Pool is ready to accept any help available. Contact Paolo Benedetti at email@example.com today!
You can also follow the project by liking their FaceBook page at: