"When I'm diving I feel like I don't have a handicap."
This is the quote that Handicapped Scuba Association founder Jim Gatacre hears the most. Jim says, "The most rewarding part of the program is seeing the apprehension turn into confidence."
Wounded warriors learned to scuba dive at last weekend.
Gatacre, who founded the organization in 1981, explains that wounded veterans don't see themselves the same way anymore. Gatacre says, "This [diving] is the most powerful tool for changing their self image." He further explained, "Once that image changes, and the apprehension turns to confidence amazing things can happen. I've seen people stop using drugs, get married, and succeed."
Jim calls diving a survival sport. "Once you're at the bottom, you have to swim back to the top; it forces you to make a lot of decisions."
For more on the Dutch Springs event, see this Morning Call report, which includes video.