20 February 2017


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Fay wrote:

No one knew Walter better than me. I knew him for thirty-seven years, first as my employer and then my husband for thirty-two years. With the exception of the Jim Moran Lake Michigan Swim, I was with him through his swimming career. He had one goal from the time I met him, all he talked about and trained for was to swim from Cuba to the United States. This swim was what he lived for. He felt God had blessed him with the gift of swimming. He felt he was obligated to make the most of the gift he was given and he had within himself through swimming to make this a better world, to help bridge the gap between Cuba and the United States. He spent years preparing himself physically and mentally for the swim. He also felt that when necessary you had to fight for what was morally right. I have given a lot of thought about how he would feel about his nomination for induction into the Halls of Fame. If he were alive today, he would feel honored but he would not be overwhelmed. He was more into getting the job done than receiving accolades. He was an extraordinary man in the water and on land. He always told me no matter what he was doing he never did anything “just to be doing it,” there had to be a reason. He found it very difficult to relax and do nothing. When he targeted the goal there was no turning back it was always full steam ahead. Walter Alfred Poenisch, Sr. was an honorable man and lived his live accordingly. It was my honor and privilege to share his life and I thank him for it. Walter Poenisch was/is and will always be the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida.
To each of you who nominated My Walter for induction into the Halls of Fame*, I will be eternally grateful. Some of the voters for his induction have shared their comments with me and their words and thoughts touch my heart. I believe Walter would appreciate knowing their sentiments as much as being inducted. I have wanted to cast my vote for a long time but did not know if it was appropriate for me to vote. I learned yesterday that Walter will be inducted into the International Swimming Hall of Fame. I am a person of faith. I know that God is too loving to be unkind and far too wise to make a mistake and things happen in His time. I have gotten to know some of you through emails and calls for all you have done to support Walter there just aren't words. I am eternally grateful. Thank you.

*The nomination webform on this website that Fay is talking about is now closed.