Day one is always a slow stream of participants flowing into the facility we use for our challenge. People were getting checked-in, unpacked, saying hi to old friends, and meeting new ones. Our first scheduled “event” was dinner at Geiger Marina. After traveling all day (some drove days from places like Massachusetts and North Carolina), it was nice to finally be in the Keys.
The real-time account of this challenge took place on Facebook. Due to internet and time constraints, we weren’t able to write and post on the website at the same time. We’ll be going over the entire trip here and sharing some pictures as we get them uploaded to the site.
We exited the wilderness today. Before departure we asked God for safety, good weather and fish. We received all 3! The scenery was spectacular, the route was challenging and the group was small but tight. We got 3 CWVC members to the top of the Mount of the Holy Cross at 14,005 ft. Justin was a stud but the trail was beyond what a superhuman with an Above-the-Knee prosthetic could hope to achieve. He did slide/ crawl/ drag himself to nearly 13,000 ft.
5TH Annual Combat Wounded Veteran SCUBA Challenge Announced
ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, MAR. 7, 2016 – Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Inc. (“CWVC”), www.combatwounded.org, headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL, announced that its 5th Annual SCUBA “Challenge” will be held July 16th through July 23rd in the Florida Keys. CWVC is dedicated to improving the lives of wounded or injured veterans by assisting them in realizing their newfound potential by providing “Challenge” expeditions that are physically and psychologically demanding and requiring extreme outdoor efforts.
The 2016 SCUBA Challenge will have combat wounded and injured veterans (i) participating in field work and case studies that furthers medical, physiological, biomedical and/or pathological sciences associated with their injuries, (ii) mentoring the youth of SCUBAnauts International (www.scubanautsintl.org), a marine science youth education organization (“SNI”), and (iii) participating in a coral restoration program with scientists from the Tropical Research Center of MOTE Marine Laboratory (www.mote.org). CWVC, SNI and MOTE are 501(c)(3) charitably-supported organizations. Each of the participating SCUBAnauts is an AAUS-qualified science diver.
The 2016 SCUBA Challenge will begin by pairing combat wounded and injured veterans with SCUBAnauts and giving them missions to accomplish. The first mission will be to restore damaged coral reef under the guidance of scientists from MOTE’s Tropical Research Marine Laboratory on Summerland Key. The second mission pairs SCUBAnauts and veterans in an underwater navigation course. Each pair must work efficiently together to accomplish their missions. See video about CWVC’s 2015 SCUBA Challenge at https://combatwounded.org/2015/11/10/video-combat-wounded-veteran-challenge-key-west-2015. Sofia Alaniz, who has been a SCUBAnaut for seven years and who participated in the 2015 SCUBA Challenge, said of the veterans, “It’s an amazing opportunity to be part of their lives. They’ve changed our lives by showing us what it means to serve our country and to never give up. I feel so lucky to have dove with them.”
Members of the CWVC Board of Directors include Jay Katzen (a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer), CAPT Dominic Gorie, USN, (Ret) (a retired NASA astronaut and veteran of four space shuttle missions), CAPT David Olson, USN (Ret) (the founder of CWVC and SCUBAnauts), LCDR Gerard Coleman, USN (Ret) (a professor of Marine Engineering Technology at Texas A&M University), and Ben J. Hayes, J.D. (an attorney, President of New York-Penn League, and former Major League Baseball pitcher).
Our 2015 cross mentoring challenge where we pair combat wounded and injured veterans with SCUBAnauts and give them a mission to accomplish.
The first mission is to restore damaged coral reef under the guidance of MOTE Marine Laboratories. The second mission pairs one SCUBAnaut and one veteran in an underwater navigation course. Each pair must work efficiently together to accomplish their mission before any other team.