A DECADE OF "GIVING BACK" CONTINUES AS WOUNDED WARRIORS RETURN
Ten years ago when the island of Bonaire was approached about hosting a group of U.S. servicemen wounded as the result of service to their country, island officials welcomed the opportunity. Now, a decade later, Bonaire is hosting their 10th Anniversary Wounded Warrior Trip, August 15-22.
Each year during this special week, selected American soldiers with service-related challenges come to Bonaire where they scuba dive and explore some of the best reefs and dive sites in the world. A large number of companies have come alongside to sponsor the participants, their companions and basically all of the week’s activities and meals.
“It is always a pleasure to welcome a new group of warriors,” commented Malinda Hassell, Marketing Manager for Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “At the end of the week, you can see the positive effects of their vacation in Bonaire; they are relaxed and are already talking about when they can return to the island.”
Captain Don’s Habitat has supported this project since its inception. "Captain Don's Habitat continues to support the Wounded Warrior Bonaire Program in part because of the large role the late Jack Chalk had in creating the program. He wanted to give back to people who have given so much,” explains Claire Sealy, General Manager at Habitat. “We are proud to host the Warriors each year and provide the housing and diving support. We are humbled each year by the fortitude and courage of the amazing warriors, spouses and family members."
“The Wounded Warrior Bonaire program is important because it provides an opportunity to support the warriors. Caradonna is pleased to give something back to these incredible individuals and help show them the underwater world, where injuries are irrelevant,” said Tim Webb, President of Caradonna Dive Adventures. Webb, and his team of dive travel professionals at Caradonna, have been supporting the Wounded Warrior Scuba project since it began in 2006.
Bonaire is working closely with DEMA’s Be A Diver program to identify and bring these soldiers to the island each year. To date, more than 100 Wounded Warriors and their companions have enjoyed Bonaire’s incredible diving, generous hospitality and relaxed lifestyle.
“Scuba diving is an activity that ANYONE can enjoy. Each year the dive industry comes together by donating equipment, time, activities, meals and more to show the world that physical challenges don’t matter if you want to dive,” explains Tom Ingram, DEMA’s Executive Director. “Our team, led by ‘Big Wave’ Dave Reidenbach, looks forward to this event every year. What an incredible way to give back and recognize soldiers who have sacrificed so much for our country.”
The impressive list of sponsors for this 10th Anniversary Event include: 9Line LLC, Adams Unlimited Public Relations & Marketing, Air Hogs SCUBA, Blue Water Divers, Bonaire Animal Shelter, Bonaire KFC, BonPhoto, BonaireTalk.com, Bonaire Quad Tours, Bonaire Tours & Vacations, Budget Rent A Car Bonaire, Cadushy,Captain Don's Habitat, Janet Thibaut & late Captain Don Stewart, Caradonna Dive Adventures, Inc., CIEE Bonaire, Destinations Weddings & Honeymoons Magazine, Discovery Dive World, Disabled Sports USA, Diver’s Diner Bar & Grill,DEMA/Be a Diver, DiveNewswire, Dive Training Magazine, Dr. Jeffrey Osburn, Elements Bonaire, Father Edward J. Giorgio, VA Post 689, Henderson, H.S.A. International Training Center of New Jersey, Islands Magazine, Iron Order Motorcycle Club Bonaire (Caribbean Pirates Crew), James Howard Creative Group, Jewel of Bonaire, Kevin & Sharon Pursley, LeisurePro, Marlboro High School, MIVABO, OCEANIC, Omnicom Media Group, Patriots For Disabled Divers, Princeton Tec, Rento O Fun, Rum Runners Bonaire, Scuba Diving Magazine, Scuba Emporium, Sea & Sea, Sport Diver Magazine, STINAPA, Task Force Dagger Foundation, Taxi Association Bonaire, Texas Dive Center, Tourism Corporation Bonaire, Wounded Warrior Project.