Provided by Patriots for Disabled Divers
Patriots for Disabled Divers’ (PFDD) new Adopt-A-Diver program is the latest in PFDD’s decade-long mission to bring the therapeutic benefits of scuba diving to injured veterans.
Founded in 2013 by Jeff and Merial Currer, Patriots for Disabled Divers is a not-for-profit organization providing scuba diving training and experiences to disabled veterans. Scuba diving has received growing interest from the adaptive sports community over the last several years due to an increasing body of evidence suggesting a connection between scuba diving and a reduction of some chronic symptoms of traumatic injury.
Since their creation, PFDD has been on the leading edge of this growing movement. “Over the last ten years, PFDD has had the privilege of assisting over 1,000 injured veterans in their recovery and reintegration into daily life through adaptive diving techniques,” said Co-founder and current Vice President Captain Jeff Currer, USN, Ret.
PFDD provides their programs at no cost to the participants. With average diver training costing $1,000 per student, outside donations are essential to delivering these benefits to injured veterans. However, the therapeutic impact scuba diving has can be challenging to understand for those who have never seen it firsthand. PFDD’s Adopt-A-Diver program seeks to rectify this disconnect by building relationships between donors and veterans.
A donor who makes a qualifying donation is paired with a veteran who has been approved for scuba diving training by their physician and PFDD’s review board which includes PADI-qualified scuba diving instructors. The donor and the veteran meet either physically or through a virtual platform and remain in communication throughout the program. This personal approach provides complete transparency to the program and the impact it has on the lives of the participants.
So far, the program is off to a promising start. Carlton Phillips, owner of Prince William Marina, made the first pledge to the Adopt-A-Diver program and will soon be paired with the veteran whose training his donation will support. Recognizing Mr. Phillips’s contribution, Occoquan Mayor and PFDD Presiden, Earnie Porta said, “Through our programs, we’ve witnessed some amazing transformations and positive impacts on the people who have given so much for our country. Donations like this from Mr. Phillips make these transformations possible and connect our military heroes with those who want to help.”
If you want to learn more about PFDD and their programs or apply for assistance, you can contact them online or visit patriotsfordisableddivers.org.