Dive Pirates Teach ADAPTIVE SCUBA in Cayman Brac
Houston-based Dive Pirates Foundation with 15 chapters across the nation returned from Cayman Brac after successfully completing its mission of certifying 12 adaptive dive students during their open water adventure.
Once a year the non-profit organization of scuba diving enthusiasts sponsors those with disabilities with training, gear, and a paid trip to Cayman Brac to complete their certification.
This year’s trip featured 63 travelers including the recipients, their support teams and Dive Pirates enthusiasts.The event this year was especially unique because it was among the first dive groups to return to Cayman Brac following Hurricane Paloma that devastated the island last Fall.
The recipients include those who have suffered combat injuries, car accidents or illness. Each is now a certified diver:
Stanley Vigil – paraplegic – Albuquerque, NM
Traci Bryan – quadriplegic – Dallas, TX
Juana Flores – quadriplegic – Dallas, TX
Alan Bailey – quadriplegic – Houston, TX
Jake Hipps – paraplegic – Vietnam veteran – Buffalo, NY
Latseen Benson – double leg amputee – Iraq veteran – Houston, TX
Dan Gade – leg amputee – Iraq veteran – Athens, GA
Bonnie Brawner – leg amputee – San Antonio, TX
Becca Lockhart – incompletely formed hands and feet – St Petersburg, FL
Albert Garcia – arm Amputee – San Antonio, TX
Alex Nicholl – leg amp – Iraq veteran – Louisville, KY
Domonic Corradin – paraplegic – Whitehall, MI
“Those of us diving with an adaptive buddy actually spend the week “diving for someone else,” explained co-founder Barbara Thompson. “We give up cameras and poking around the reefs and plummeting over the walls to show a disabled person another world and take their mind off of their particular disability and life experience. We hope we’ve introduced them do something they will love for life.”
This year’s trip, coined “Out Brac – Pirates Down Under” with an uniquely designed t-shirt by artist Rogest, was possible due to generous donations of those attending the 5th Annual Pirates Ball, the foundations’ key fundraiser, and a generous grant from ABB. Also very important to the trip this year is the continued support of SSI and the newly formed chapters across the country. Fundraisers in Dallas, Texas (Adventure Scuba), Corpus Christi, Texas (Aventure Scuba), Albuquerque, and New Mexico (New Mexico Scuba Center) have also contributed to this year’s recipients making the expansion of Dive Pirates across the country possible.
The community of Cayman Brac, spearheaded by Trudy Viers, Manager of Brac Reef Beach Resort, pulled together to find accommodations and transportation for the pirates as more than half of the island is under repairs after Hurricane Paloma tore through the area last November.
For pictures from the trip go to: http://divepiratesevents.shutterfly.com/714
To see Barbara Thompson’s blog on the trip go to: www.bracreef.com
The Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Scuba Diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with the mainstream of divers. Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles. For more information about the foundation or the trip to Cayman Brac go to: www.divepirates.org