With her friend with her in spirit, 21-year-old Hannah Strom made her comeback to the rowing world this weekend. On her left shoulder were the initials "G.R." in memory of Grace Rett, the Holy Cross rower who passed away in the horrific crash of the crew team's van in Florida last year.

On Saturday, the Marion native competed in her first regatta since that life-changing accident. She raced as a member of the Worcester Boat Club on the Charles River. Strom's father Tom, dressed in his Kool Kone shirt, waved good luck as his daughter ventured out into the water.

Courtesy of Tom Strom
Courtesy of Tom Strom

This milestone did not come easy. Strom has been tirelessly rehabbing and improving herself to regain all of the abilities she had prior to the accident. Just before last Christmas, Strom completed a mile run in her hometown, surrounded by her friends and family.

A rower at heart, Strom wasn't going to be satisfied with just a run. She yearned to get back out on the water and committed herself to training with Worcester Boat Club President Joe May. The two have been training together, with May picking up Strom at five in the morning to help the Holy Cross student get back to a place where she could be competitive again.

The training paid off. Strom's team placed third in Saturday's regatta. As you can imagine, she is still not satisfied. She has yet to be fully cleared to row with her Holy Cross crew team, and she will continue to train to achieve that goal.

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Anyone wondering where Strom finds the resolve didn't have to look any further than her right shoulder blade during the race on Saturday.

"Find Your Strength" was written in black magic marker. For Strom, this is not just a bumper sticker.  It is how she is living her life.

Whatever obstacle you are facing today, Hannah Strom is a living, breathing example of what it means to find your inner strength and overcome the unthinkable setbacks that life can bring.

Photo By Tom Strom
Courtesy of Tom Strom

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