Healing power of water

Photography by Alice Mary Herden

Weeki Wachee Weekend Warrior Challenge

Weeki Wachee- Branson Rector founded the Veterans Ocean Adventures in 2009 after retiring from the Army to share what he calls the "healing power of water."Veteran and Founder of Veterans Ocean Adventures Branson Rector talks with a fellow diver during the Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge Saturday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Photo by Alice Mary Herden

“We got involved with Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge about four years ago while assisting another organization that ran it, and saw this was a worthwhile event because it added a competitive part to scuba diving as a sport,” Rector said.

The Veterans Ocean Adventures is based out of Miami and works with disabled veterans. The program is available for men and women who suffer from either physical or mental challenges. Rector explained that they get so many comments like "You can’t tell that I have a disability" and "They are free from gravity, they are free to move." "This is a healthy outdoor activity for fellow veterans.” Rector said.
Eric Jackson helps his wife Kim, both veterans, with her scuba suit during the Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge Saturday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Photo by Alice Mary Herden
Veterans Kim Jackson and her husband Eric are participating in the program along with a friend who they were stationed with twenty years ago. “It’s a relaxing feeling, and sometimes you need that relaxation, to quiet your mind,” Kim Jackson said. “I think this is going to be awesome.”

Saturday was a full day of training and certification for the divers at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, and Sunday March 20th is the big day. After all participants have gone through training and become certified, it's game mode for these veterans.
“The veterans still look for some adventure and adrenaline rush and they love gear, and this is just another great piece of gear to get in the water to experience,” said Rector.
Divers test the gear during the Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge Saturday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Photo by Alice Mary Herden
He stated, “The crystal clear water of Weeki Wachee Springs is a great place to do this and we're very fortunate to be able to come up here.”

For more information: http://www.veteransoceanadventures.org/

Links:

http://www.hsascuba.com/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jkfi4DeyvWI

Eric Jackson helps his wife Kim, both veterans, with her scuba suit during the Weeki Wachee Warrior Challenge Saturday at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. Photo by Alice Mary Herden
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