Shorehaven Strength and Fitness Center member Dieter Karkossa told center manager Kira Grosenick in a recent pool workout, “I just work with what I’ve got now. I don’t worry much about what’s missing.”

The German immigrant and fanatical professional soccer fan once played competitive soccer, served as executive chef at Olympia Resort in its peak, chef at Seven Seas, and in 2017, became an amputee due to leg infections. “The day my surgeon told me I was going to lose the leg was not my best day,” said Karkossa. “It was not what I wanted to hear.”

Today, he enlists cardiovascular and range of motion exercise assistance from Grosenick twice a week, performs daily stretches, walking, strength training and swimming routines, and is concentrating on staying “fit and well.” He still yells at soccer stars on TV, dons his prosthesis with ease, and doesn’t think of himself as an amputee.

Center manager Kira Grosenick noted, “The goal of the fitness center is to meet the needs of as many people in the community as possible. Through the use of the adaptive equipment, we can make a greater impact and help individuals who may not have been able to exercise previously. Being able to help others who have overcome obstacles personally is one of the most rewarding parts of my job.”

“There are still so many things I can do,” said Karkossa. “I don’t give up. I don’t sit and complain. I don’t dwell on what’s wrong with me. I focus on what’s right.”

He values the new aquatic equipment provided through the Shorehaven Service League of Volunteers, a $5,000 pledge towards a water wheelchair, treadmill, and bicycle. Karkossa uses the facility chair lift to get in and out of the pool and whirlpool. “I’ve got full access,” the 74-year old smiled. “And I tell everyone, EVERYONE, about what this fitness center does for people. It makes us feel strong again. Makes us whole.”