Saturday, August 25, 2012

Her bronze is as good as gold at Bedford VA

Her bronze is as good as gold at Bedford VA
Sentinel and Enterprise
By Katie Lannan

BEDFORD -- With neuromuscular disease limiting the use of his hands, Army veteran Ed Ackerson couldn't grip Natalie Dell's Olympic bronze medal when she passed it around to patients at the Edith Nourse Rogers Veterans Administration Hospital on Thursday.

So Dell, a rower on the U.S. women's quadruple sculls team, took the medal from around her neck and placed it around Ackerson's.

"You're going to insist on taking this back now, aren't you?" said Ackerson, 62, looking down the medal.

"I'll fight you for it, sir," Dell joked.

A mental-health researcher at the hospital, Dell, a Cambridge resident, was welcomed back to her workplace Thursday after two years telecommuting from New Jersey while training for the Olympics.

Her return as an Olympic medalist is a point of pride for the VA, said acting hospital Director Christine Croteau.

"We have world-class health care, world-class research and now, a world-class athlete," Croteau said.
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