Everyone experiences setbacks in life, but it’s a rare person who uses those setbacks to fuel-inject a dream that will propel him or her to greater heights. This year, Pool & Spa News searched high and low and found six such indomitable spirits who've overcome amazing odds with grace, grit and gratitude. They've faced the passing of loved ones, survived severe personal injury, and teetered on the brink of financial ruin. But they bounced back — in one case, with the help of Oprah. Today, these survivors are thriving and have offered to share their stories. Should you be facing adversity of any sort, we hope these industry stalwarts inspire a comeback story of your own.


With some help from generous programs and relatives, a pool pro and his family lift themselves out of homelessness.


After the sudden loss of his father, a service professional worked to open the pool store his dad had always wanted.

Its company nearly ruined by employee theft, a family pulls together everything it has to start anew.

The Secret of My Success

Suddenly unemployed, a pool professional finds motivation in an unexpected source.

Recovering from the Crash

No, not the economic crash. A Florida pool professional tells the harrowing story of surviving a head-on collision on a motorcycle.


Medical setbacks and an existential crisis led this glass-tile expert to the next phase of his career.