Summary of CWVC Activities for 2018
5 December 2018
CWVC wanted to share with you an update on our 2018 activities; specifically our SCUBA Challenge supporting Mote Marine Laboratory’s coral reef restoration program, academia/medical Orthotic/Prosthetic (O&P) research, and Marine Gunnery Sergeant Brady’s cross country walk in honor of his brother … all of which were made possible through your generous donations to our collective mission.
We concluded our 2018 SCUBA Challenge, our annual “family-oriented” event, the last week in June. We had 20 combat wounded/injured veteran (CW/IV) divers with another 13 dive master, dive instructor, O&P research divers, safety support divers, and five boat captains/crews participate in multiple dives over the week-long event. For the past 6 years we’ve augmented this Challenge by teaming with a youth organization, SCUBAnauts Int’l, for part of the week where youth and CW/IVs interacted sharing life’s experiences. Each year, both groups have found this exchange a most rewarding cross-mentoring opportunity. Including family members, we had 62 total participants. To complement dive activities, we were able to conduct other activities for non-diving spouses/children. We’ve found including families in at least one event per year contributes greatly to the overall Challenge experience, as evidenced by the enclosed, unsolicited “after action report” sent by one of our CW/IV divers.
During the week, we continued our past research activities conducted by O&P scientists. This year, we included an undergraduate O&P apprentice to assist the scientists in taking measurements from sensors attached to CW/IV divers’ bodies and prosthetic devices during controlled dives. Data captured from these dives contributed to the overall underwater O&P body of knowledge, of interest to not just CW/IVs but underwater adventure advocates in general afflicted with appendage limitations. The results of their research efforts have been formally published in the October 2018 edition of the O&P Almanac ( https://issuu.com/americanoandp/docs/october_2018/40 ).
Gunny Brady’s Walk Across America
This year, we supported Marine Gunnery Sergeant Roy Brady for a second time in three years as he trekked across country from coast to coast bringing to the attention of those he met the sacrifices our servicemen/women (and their families) make while serving overseas in combat zones and elsewhere. In 2015, his message was primarily the foregoing. This time, it was that but more personal; i.e., in honor of his brother, Maj Adrian Brady and another fellow Marine, Tommy Simpson, both of whom succumbed to PTSD/TBI-related despair following their deployments to southwest Asia by taking their own lives. The Gunny’s message to all with whom he came in contact, “You can support the organization I’m walking to draw attention to. Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge doesn’t help just a few people at a time. They help a few people immediately, those people are helping researchers, and the researchers are compiling data to be distributed to professionals that practice in the area of: prosthetics and orthotics, traumatic brain injuries, and post-traumatic stress. The research is going to help an exponential amount of people wounded in previous and current wars, as well as future injured heroes and civilians.” We provided him CWVC memorabilia (shirts, pennants, hats, coins, and other information) he could share with those he met. Numerous accounts of his 2018 trek can be found on the web; one such account at:
For 2019, we are planning three-four “challenges” for CW/IVs. In June, we’ll return to Key West for our annual SCUBA Challenge supporting Mote Marine Labs in their quest to restore the coral reefs in the Caribbean. Expect to follow that with another Mountaineering Challenge up ranges in Colorado. Later in the year, we’ll return to the seas again supporting a Sailing Challenge out of Galveston TX. In all these, we will continue to build on past research efforts working closely with academia and the O&P community. We intend to expand our research endeavors into the PTSD/TBI realm by working with Navy diving medical professionals and other research organizations to initiate a study on impacts on CW/IVs’ qualities of life and proactive means to counter those impacts in positive ways.
Through sponsoring vigorous challenges while supporting data gathering efforts that further medical O&P/PTSD/TBI research that offers meaningful purpose for our CW/IVs to not only inspire themselves, but others similarly challenged, we are undaunted in pursuit of our mission. Thanks again for your support of our efforts. For more of what we do, invite your attention to our web site at combatwounded.org.