Categorized | Sports

Kona Honu divers train to help injured military

Pete Gamble of Tucson, Ariz. dons his pirate headgear beside Kona Honu Divers owner Glenn Anderson during a recent visit to the Big Island. (Photo special to Hawaii 24/7)

Special to Hawaii 24/7

For the second year in a row, Pete Gamble found his way to Kona for a week of diving, and is now looking to relocate there to work on his dive controller rating.

As a wheelchair user with paraplegia, he enjoys accessible diving in a relaxed atmosphere. Gamble is on the Advisory Board of the Dive Pirates Foundation, and a year ago mentioned the group to the dive store that welcomed him as an adaptive diver.

Now Kona Honu Divers is training its instructors to be Adaptive SCUBA instructors and become a Dive Pirates Chapter.

“As an SSI affiliated dive store, I was familiar with the Dive Pirates Foundation and started working towards making this happen; it was a perfect fit, with our military population here, it’s a way we can give back to our community,” Kona Honu Divers owner Glenn Anderson said.

Working with the Foundation, Anderson organized training with SSI Adaptive Instructor Stacey Minton. Completing the training mid-September, Kona Honu Divers can now offer adaptive SCUBA to the surrounding community and is already identifying injured military veterans in the area.

“Kona Honu Divers has the three key elements of being a Dive Pirates chapter, a certified adaptive SCUBA instructor, access to possible recipients and a commitment to local fundraising to sponsor the recipients,” said Sophie Wimberley, Dive Pirates co-founder who traveled to Kona to meet with Anderson and the Kona Honu Divers family.

“With this certification Kona Honu Divers can give back to its military community, and say thank you for their service,” Wimberley said.

The Kona chapter will be “self-contained” in that recipients will not travel to the Cayman Brac with other stateside pirates, but build a community of pirates in the area and dive locally.

Membership to the Foundation will help support recipients with equipment, and funds raised locally will help defer the costs of diving.

The Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing Scuba Diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with the mainstream of divers.

Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles.

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