One week out of the year, Bonaire welcomes a group of Wounded Warriors to their beautiful paradise. From August 18-25th wounded veterans and their significant others come to Bonaire to complete their final step in obtaining their dive certifications and, of course, enjoy the natural beauty Bonaire has to offer.
Diving Equipment & Marketing Associations (DEMA)
Tourism Corporation Bonaire
Captain Don’s Habitat
First Hand Look
Our Operations Director, Barbara Seidel, was there for a few days to give us a first hand account of what went down.
Between trying Kadushi (a sweet Bonaire drink made from cactus), cocktail hours and the Managers Rum Punch Party at Captain Don’s, Barbara was able to find time to partake in what she was really there for, work! (We kid!)
They all had great stories, each one in his own way was memorable and in great spirits, she shared.
One of the veterans she recalls of the many extraordinary men and women was John, from Buffalo, New York, who had a wonderful attitude.
John was shot and injured so badly in Iraq, he was sent to Germany for treatment. His family was flown to the hospital on site because doctors didn’t think he was going to come out of the coma. But miraculously, he did.
What I really remember about him, besides his love to joke around, was that he had a wristband that had a bullet as the clasp. I later found out that the bullet was from the gun the Iraqi had shot him with. His buddy shot the man and took his gun. He then saved the bullet for John to keep, she recalled.
“The fact that John pulled through and is now enjoying life and constantly joking around with everyone shows what wonderful spirit he has. It was an honor to have met him.”
Oceanic played a really large role this year. They dished out red, white, and blue gear for the veterans. Once they were all geared up in their patriotic fins, masks and snorkels it was time to plunge!
One of the things we love about Captain Don’s Habitat is that you have options in how you choose to dive. Captain Don’s has three different boats to take you to your dive site OR you can dive in right from the resort with their divers-only baby dock. Just one stride off the pier and you’re already surrounded by coral and colorful wrasse and gobies.
How’s that for a diver’s dream?
We just HAD to ask Barbara what her most memorable experience was on her trip.
Aside from experiencing the gorgeous green flash at sunset by the bar, she shared how impressed she was with everyone’s hard work and dedication to making these seven days the best days possible for these injured veterans.
Marie with TCB USA
Jack at Captain Don’s
Dan with Oceanic
Dave with DEMA
All the work they did to make a week in these men’s lives unbelievable was an honor to witness, she shared.
Get more on how Bonaire honors US military veterans here.