LAKE MEAD, Ariz. — The National Park Service (NPS), park concessioners and other partners teamed up with wounded veterans to preserve the nation’s culture and history at Lake Mead National Recreation Area Nov. 7-9 and, at the same time, help wounded veterans find relief from physical and psychological pain.
Participating veterans are part of the Wounded American Veterans Experience (WAVES) SCUBA Project – an organization that helps veterans overcome combat injuries through diving. Just before Veterans Day, they teamed up with NPS’ Submerged Resources Center (SRC) to conduct their first dive within a national park. The project assessed multiple artifacts that lie beneath Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
Steve Rubin, the executive director and co-founder of the WAVES Project,said his organization started out as a way to support veterans with physical disabilities, but has found that it’s also healing for those suffering from PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. He said a study conducted by Johns Hopkins University showed that wounded veterans experienced an 80 percent reduction in PTSD for up to six weeks after diving.
“As America’s most diverse national recreation area, we have two beautiful lakes that are ideal for scuba diving,” said Lizette Richardson, the park’s superintendent and the spouse of an Air Force retiree. “We are honored that Lake Mead National Recreation Area can serve as a healing place for our veterans. We look forward to strengthening our collaboration with key education, military and veteran community partners.”
The WAVES Project and SRC plan to assess their experience at Lake Mead National Recreation Area as they look for future opportunities at Lake Mead and other national parks. The WAVES Project is currently working with veteran-owned dive shops in Denver, Phoenix, San Diego and San Dimas. Rubin’s goal is to duplicate this amazing program in various major locations throughout the United States.
The event was made possible with support from Forever Resorts and Aramark, two of the park’s concessioners who help provide diverse visitor experiences and routinely support military and veterans.
To read the full National Park Service press release, click here.
SOURCE: National Park Service press release