José Rodriguez and Charles Zelinsky
When he was a teenager, José Rodriguez was kicked out of public school.
He was diagnosed with a learning disability and sent to a school for students with special needs.
This qualified him to participate in the New Jersey Special Olympics – any child or adult with an intellectual disability can take part.
At StoryCorps, José told his former coach, Charles Zelinsky, what his life was like before he found the games.
José is now a Special Olympics basketball coach–and will be coaching during the 2012 New Jersey Summer Games.
Originally aired June 8, 2012, on NPR’s Morning Edition.
George Lengel grew up in Roebling, New Jersey, during the 1940s. Back then, it was a company town owned by the John A. Roebling’s Sons Company. Nearly every member of George’s family, including his mother and grandmother, worked in the steel and wire mills.
The Lengel family helped produce wire rope that supported scores of suspension bridges including the Golden Gate Bridge and the original elevators in the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
George went on to become a history teacher; he taught in New Jersey public schools for 31 years before retiring.
At StoryCorps, George remembered his childhood in Roebling, and the one man who stood above all others in a town full of tough men—his father.
Originally aired April 8, 2011 on NPR’s Morning Edition.