CWVC Honored with Victories for Veterans Grant Award by the Duke Energy Foundation

CWVC Honored with Victories for Veterans Grant Award by the Duke Energy Foundation


ST. PETERSBURG, FL, October 10, 2017 – Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge (“CWVC”) was honored as a recipient of Duke Energy’s and Tampa Bay Rays’ “Victories for Veterans” program. The grant of approximately $8,800 will be used to support the “Coral Restoration Challenge,” which has been formed in partnership with MOTE Marine Laboratories (“MOTE”), located in Summerland Key, FL, to restore coral reefs in the Florida Keys.

“Duke Energy is honored to help support our veterans,” said Harry Sideris, Duke Energy Florida President. “Last year our ‘Victories for Veterans’ partnership with the Tampa Bay Rays provided invaluable services to 1,300 local veterans and we are proud to continue this investment and assist other worthwhile organizations, like Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Inc. We hope it will have a lasting effect on our community and is one of the many ways our company supports the men and women who have served our country.”

Challenge, Research, and Inspire

Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the medical industry with engaged volunteers for field-based assessments and research that advances treatment for wounded veterans through challenging expeditions and purpose-based events. Research is conducted in extreme conditions that push current treatments and devices beyond the normal use, creating new ideas for better treatments.

During CWVC’s annual SCUBA-related research on prosthetics and orthotics, CWVC and MOTE conducted joint operations to restore the reefs by planting coral that MOTE has grown in a nursery. This exercise allows the veterans to participate in a mission to save a great natural resource. The Coral Restoration Challenge will further this effort to address the significant decline of the reefs, which are needed to protect coastal areas and provide valuable habitat for fish and invertebrates.

Other Challenges that have been accomplished by CWVC veterans include:

  • Climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro (mission objectives: Prosthetics, TBI, PTSD)
  • Descended into the Grand Canyon (mission objectives: Prosthetics)
  • Climbed Mt. Aconcagua (mission objectives: Prosthetics, TBI, PTSD)
  • Denali Expedition (mission objectives: Prosthetics, Double Lung Transplant study)
  • More challenges and information can be found on the website:

Our veterans inspire those that have been recently injured or are facing new challenges related to their injuries by visiting VA hospitals to tell the story of how they have overcome similar obstacles and are now doing things like climbing mountains and SCUBA diving.

In addition to inspiring others, our vets who volunteer to transplant corals derive great purpose and inspiration from their assisting MOTE scientists in preserving the health of coral reefs in the Florida Keys. This CWVC “Coral Restoration Challenge” aligns itself with the views of the last Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, who said, “Veterans who have volunteered to serve their nation as military members also will derive great purpose from continuing to volunteer in their civilian life afterwards.”

About Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Inc.

Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge has been working with injured and combat wounded veterans since 2011. CWVC began by creating case studies and now conducts research on prosthetics, orthotics, and traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress with partners, such as the University of Hartford.

CWVC is a member of Medical Technology Enterprise Consortium, (“MTEC”), a biomedical technology consortium collaborating with multiple government agencies under a 10-year renewable Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) with the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC).

More information can be found at:

Media Contact:

Deborah K. Pawlowski


SCUBA/MOTE Operations Contact:

Reid Carlock
(727) 942-8415
10490 Gandy Blvd.
St. Petersburg, FL 33702


Derby Lane Donates $16,250 to Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge!

Derby Lane Donates $16,250 to Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge!

text-poker-logoPRESS RELEASE: St. Petersburg, Florida. Derby Lane hosted a poker tournament on Saturday, March 12th which raised $16,250 to benefit Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge (CWVC)! For the fourth consecutive year, Derby Lane ( has conducted the event and donated thousands to CWVC.

Derby Lane executives Richard Winning and Steve Hlas are also CWVC Advisory Board members and help support CWVC’s annual SCUBA Challenge. Derby Lane Card Room Manager Pam Buzzetto and Director of Gaming Jeff Gamber organized, promoted, and managed the event, and are planning another poker tournament to benefit CWVC on Memorial Day.

“Steve and Richard have been tremendous supporters of CWVC over the years, both in hosting this great fundraising event and in their direct participation and support of our SCUBA Challenge in Key West” said Neal Harper, CWVC Vice President. “Pam and Jeff do an outstanding job planning and executing the poker tournament, and we can’t thank them enough!”

Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge is a local veteran service organization focused on the rehabilitation and restoration of wounded and injured veterans, and on traumatic brain injury, PTSD, and prosthetic research.

Press Release: 5TH Annual Combat Wounded Veteran SCUBA Challenge Announced

Press Release: 5TH Annual Combat Wounded Veteran SCUBA Challenge Announced


5TH Annual Combat Wounded Veteran SCUBA Challenge Announced

ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA, MAR. 7, 2016 – Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Inc. (“CWVC”),, 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 (, 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 ( 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 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).

Vice President
Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, Inc.
Office: (727) 942-8415