Dive Guardians is a Non-Profit organization that has been established to provide an opportunity to our first responders and those that have experienced traumatic events to experience SCUBA diving. SCUBA diving and the overall therapeutic properties of water have been proven to be ideal in helping people rehabilitate from various physical and mental injuries such as amputations, spinal cord injuries, PTSd, Traumatic Brain Injuries, and General Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Each qualified candidate and a dive buddy of their choice that is accepted into Dive Guardians will experience the freedom of SCUBA diving for free. We take each candidate and their buddy from classroom to open water dives where they experience the many benefits to SCUBA and ultimately receive a PADI Open Water Diver certification.
I guess this all started in 2015 when I decided I wanted to give back and help disabled veterans in some way. As I was discussing this with my wife at the time, she handed me a newspaper that contained an ad regarding an organization that helped veterans rehabilitate from service connected disabilities through SCUBA diving and the therapeutic effects of water. You see, I have been a SCUBA diver for many years and know, first hand, of those therapeutic effects. I reached out to this organization and spent the next three years volunteering for them.
Well, in addition to being a veteran, I am also a 24-year veteran of Law Enforcement. During my long career as a first responder, I witnessed the negative effects that experiencing repeated traumatic events over a career has on a first responder. I have seen many brothers and sisters develop drug and alcohol problems, become both suspects and victims of domestic violence, and suffer from depression. I also know more than one First responder who have chosen to take their life due to depression and Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSd). Then, in 2016, a fellow first responder, friend, and the brother-in-law to my best friend took his life leaving behind a wife, three children, and a grandchild.
I thought about my friend a lot after it happened and tried to make sense of what he did and wished there was some way I could have maybe intervened and helped him before he chose to take his life. The problem was I had no idea he was going through this as he kept it to himself. Additionally, most organizations out there, including the organization I was with are designed to help only military veterans that had service connected disabilities. Don’t get me wrong, I love helping veterans but there are many organizations out there that cater to this specific mission. The reality is, first responders develop and experience PTSd, General Anxiety disorder (GAd), and have a wide array of physical disabilities as well but there are very few organizations out there catered to them.
Then I got to thinking, there are so OTHER many people, in addition to our first responders, that have experienced traumatic events in their lives that can also benefit from SCUBA diving and the therapeutic effects of water. So, in March, 2018, the concept of Dive Guardians was born and became a reality in April, 2018.
Dive Guardians was conceived to help not only first responders but those that have experienced traumatic events in their lives leaving them with physical injuries and/or emotional scars.
Why We Are Here
There are so many wonderful organizations in existence that help our war heroes and military veterans but few to help our first responders or anyone for that matter, that has experienced traumatic events other than military combat.
As a profession, first responders are already at an increased risk of Post-Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSd), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), General Anxiety disorder (GAd), and an array of physical injuries. This is based on their physically demanding jobs and the increased chances of being exposed to a variety of traumatic events, ranging from officer involved shootings, homicides, having to respond to traffic fatalities, and fighting fires.
In addition, there are many others in our society to that have been victims of violent sexual assaults such as rape or an array or other violent or traumatic events leaving them with both physical injuries and emotional scars. Those who have experienced these traumatic events often have nightmares, flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, and feeling emotionally numb.
What We Do
We take each candidate and their buddy from classroom to open water dives where they experience the many benefits to SCUBA and ultimately receive a PADI Open Water Diver certification. Once becoming a member of the Dive Guardians family, you can give back by volunteering and helping others experience the benefits of our program. However, it doesn’t stop there. Dive Guardians gives our candidates an opportunity to keep diving by offering fun dives at various dive sites and dive travel to remote dive destinations. Once a member of the Dive Guardians family, you can be given the opportunity to participate in continuing education such as Advanced Open Water Diver, Rescue Diver and many more. Select candidates may also be given the opportunity to become a Dive Master or Open Water SCUBA Instructor.