Weddington man named CNN 'Hero' finalist

A local man has been nominated for a CNN Hero award.

WEDDINGTON, N.C. -- It's hard to describe the definition of a "hero." Some are famous, some have saved lives. One man in our area has flown under the radar, but his heroism comes from his generosity. 

Twenty-three years ago, the now-87-year-old Harry Swimmer found his true calling in life.

"I've been told I could've retired a long time ago from everything and gone to sit on a beach some place," Swimmer said.

After an encounter with a girl with special needs, Swimmer brought her to his horse farm in Weddington. Ever since, the farm has turned therapeutic, as a non-profit for hundreds of special needs children.

"This is something they can do and they're proud of it," Swimmer said. "When they're on a horse, they're proud.  And all along, they're getting therapy moved into their body."

For his generous work in his community, Swimmer has been chosen as one of 10 finalists for CNN Heroes' Hero of the Year.

"You know, I really am very excited about this, and I'm also very humbled by the whole business of being a hero," Swimmer said. 

You can vote for Swimmer on CNN.com until December. The winner receives $100,000, which for Swimmer would go toward his therapeutic horse farm: Mitey Riders.

"These kids, think I've done a lot for them," Swimmer said. "But I assure you they've done a lot for me, too."

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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