The Waves Project helps veterans experience the joy of scuba diving

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By Rachel Kelch

Almost every weekend local veterans gather in pools or the beach for a weightless therapy. Steve Rubin, Founder and President of the Waves (Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA) Project, and Ron Fonstad, Director of Community Outreach, teach scuba diving to veterans who suffer from physical disabilities, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These veterans who served our country, now part of the Waves Project, put in the hours and the work to become certified to scuba dive in the ocean.

By Rachel Kelch

Almost every weekend local veterans gather in pools or the beach for a weightless therapy. Steve Rubin, Founder and President of the Waves (Wounded American Veterans Experience SCUBA) Project, and Ron Fonstad, Director of Community Outreach, teach scuba diving to veterans who suffer from physical disabilities, anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These veterans who served our country, now part of the Waves Project, put in the hours and the work to become certified to scuba dive in the ocean.

Army veteran, Ceasar Ramirez is a Spring Valley resident who suffered an accident overseas and now needs a wheelchair to mobilize.

He illustrated his experience with the Waves Project as a miracle saying, “The first time I went into water, it was awesome. I was out of the chair. It was a miracle to get out of the chair. To me it helps me to relax and get my mind at ease.”

Fonstad shared the same impression about Ramierez’s first time in the water, “He was sitting there with this big grin on his face. He was not attached to gravity anymore that his body stretched out a bit, and he was able to take a much deeper breath than sitting in the wheelchair and gravity taking hold.”

State Senator Joel Anderson awarded Ceasar Ramirez a Senate Certificate of Recognition for his unyielding commitment to protecting and defending our nation through his honorable service as a veteran and for his dedication to personal growth by participating in the unique scuba diving experiences provided by the Waves Project.

Anderson said, “The Waves Project is a unique and deeply meaningful way to support our veterans, and I am inspired by dedicated members of this organization and by people like Ceasar who courageously dive into a new adventure.”

The Waves Project has seen firsthand the benefits of scuba therapy. Rubin explains that Waves Project is more than therapy for war veterans. “When they come and they start to get in the program, they’re not thinking about therapy. They’re thinking about coming to have fun, and therapy is a benefit, an aspect that comes along without even knowing about it.”

Ramierez isn’t the only veteran to benefit from the Waves Project.

“We work with every individual as based on that injury and that individual’s ability and wanting help or not. It’s like we’ll get you in and we’ll get you out. And we’re pretty proud of the fact that the 170 some [veterans] that have gone through our program,” said Fonstad.

More information about the Waves Project is available on www.wavesproject.org.

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