LW's First HERO...June 26, 2017
The HERO DIVE with LifeWaters and Paralyzed Veterans of America equals magic above and below the waters.
Joe Zappa Army Veteran was diagnosed with ALS in late 2016 and came to LifeWaters in hopes he could learn to scuba along with his wife and daughter to make his dream come true to experience the underwater world with his family along his side. The mission was completed and the HERO DIVE was established and would continue its mission.
Being in the water surrounded by trained support staff provides veterans with an experience free of the earth’s harsh pull of gravity. Being in an underwater environment may increase an individual’s mobility and range of motion, diminish pain and anxiety, which in turn, may result in a renewed sense of excitement, better ability to relax, and overall improved mental health.
By including a veteran’s friends and family in the Hero Dive, the program also helps strengthen the bonds with those the veteran holds dear, and creates memories everyone can treasure.
HERO DIVE...Dives Disney World -
Two of our HERO DIVER's dive the Disney World Epcot Center / Dive Quest. Our team of volunteers and disabled veterans supported the mission and a huge thank you goes out to our supporters First Nation Group, Rotary Club of Saint Louis, MO and LifeWaters Hero Dive Team.
The Selection Process:
LifeWaters communicates with V.A. Medical Centers across the United States that specialize in spinal cord injuries and ALS—a progressive neurodegenerative disease that results in the inability of the brain to control muscle movement which can affect a person’s ability to speak, eat, move, or breathe. All veteran candidates that have expressed the desire to scuba dive are interviewed to determine suitability. Once a candidate is identified, a support team of highly trained volunteers partner with the Hero veteran, training the veteran and family members in the fundamentals of scuba diving, discussing the accommodations that must be made, and establishing the trust needed for a successful adventure.
A Life-Changing Accomplishment:
Founder Charley Wright established the Hero Dive Project to provide Hero veterans diagnosed with ALS the opportunity to feel the freedom water provides, whether they were a scuba diver before the disability or their interest developed later. His dedication to the HERO Diver Program, LifeWaters, and his life’s work as a SCI Recreation Therapist and Adaptive Scuba Instructor/Course Director, demonstrates his passion.
LifeWaters is grateful for our supporters at the First Nation Group & Rotary Club of Saint Louis, MO. Their sponsorships make these important adventures a reality.
You, too, can help. LifeWaters is a non-profit organization and relies on donations to defray the cost of these important programs. Please consider supporting this program. Your personal donation would help expand the number of Hero veterans able to participate.
Memories are made, new friendships are established, and a wonderful experience is shared by our Hero, their family, and the support network within LifeWaters.
HERO DIVE 4 dives the Georgia Aquarium - May 18, 2021
Taking a hero under the water with Gentle Giants
ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A different type of therapy started at the Veterans Affairs Hospital at Jefferson Barracks aims to take veterans dealing with injuries to depths previously unknown.
LifeWaters helps veterans deal with pain by taking a plunge, but their latest underwater adventure starred a new hero: John Hartwell.