Retired US Army Staff Sergeant Luke Murphy served two tours in Iraq, the second tour ending abruptly when his group’s Humvee came across an EFP-IED. Everyone in the vehicle suffered injuries, Luke receiving the worst, losing one leg and severely damaging the other. Twenty-nine surgeries later his salvaged leg and a prosthetic are the key to his mobility. He is a Purple Heart recipient and has recently written a book about his life’s journey, is an inspirational speaker; and now a scuba diver.
“I like to do all kinds of outdoor activities, because they are rewarding to the heart and soul, and challenging, and they come with their share of pain; not diving, it’s exciting, unencumbering, and a challenge that gives me the freedom to move, in peace and quiet, my own thoughts, without pain,” Murphy explained. “You don’t know what you are going to see, the wildlife, nature’s colors, superior to anything I’ve seen on land.”
Murphy joins 19 other adaptive divers; veterans and civilians who have lost mobility due to service, accidents or disease and look to regain it through the inclusive sport of scuba diving.
“This is an exciting group of new and returning recipients for this year’s trip to Cayman Brac Beach Resort, a week-long trip to dive some great coral reefs and bond with a group of people who look at a person’s ability, not disability, and works with him/her to safely dive and enjoy the world below the surface, and in doing so experience some mobility not always possible on land,” explained Dive Pirates Co-Founder Barbara Thompson.
Recipients from across the US will travel to Cayman Brac June 17-24, 2017.
- Retired Airman Kenneth Walsh, Shoreline MN
- Caitlin Moffett, Springfield, MO
- Retired Sgt. Gary Milne, Las Cruces, NM
- Retired Petty Officer 2nd Class Seth Wade, Odessa, FL
- Mandy MacKenzie, Chattanooga, TN
- Connor Hall, Denver, CO
- Robert Rodriquez, Houston, TX
- Retired Specialist Monty Crumrine, New Braunfels, TX
Two smaller trips are planned for later this year, one to Cozumel, Mexico and the other to Kona, Hawaii for a total of 27 past and present recipients diving with the Foundation this year. These recipients, their dive centers and supporting communities continue to fundraise to prepare for the trip and to pay it forward. You can read their individual stories and share here.
The Dive Pirates Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing scuba diving to persons with disabilities and joining them with the mainstream of divers. Its vision is to create a community of adaptive divers that will dive and travel in the mainstream world of scuba diving through education and overcoming obstacles. For more information about the Foundation go to www.divepirates.org.