Since 2005, the Tourism Corporation Bonaire and the entire island community has welcomed a group of “Wounded Warriors” to the island every year. Later this month, 12 members of the U.S. military who have sustained severe injuries will travel to Bonaire for scuba diving for rehabilitation and recreation.
From August 17-24, 2013, the wounded soldiers and their significant others will be on island to complete the final steps in obtaining their dive certifications. Representatives of the Diving Equipment & Marketing Association’s (DEMA’s) Be A Diver Program, the North American office of Tourism Corporation Bonaire and the Handicapped Scuba Association (HSA) of New Jersey will also be on-site. All accommodations and diving will be provided courtesy of Captain Don’s Habitat Bonaire. Each year, the people of Bonaire warmly welcome this group and show them not only the natural beauty and pristine waters of the island, but also the friendliness and genuine hospitality of the Bonairean people.
“It’s a privilege for Bonaire to welcome these heroes to our island for a week of rest, relaxation and scuba diving,” commented Ethsel Pieternella, Director of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “It’s a great opportunity for our island community to help show our appreciation for the courage and sacrifice that each of these members of the U.S. military has displayed and to ensure they return home with lasting memories of Bonaire.”
This year’s contingent of twelve wounded warriors has suffered life-changing physical injuries received in combat while stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They and their partners will be kept busy with a variety of activities, kicking the week off with the completion of their PADI and HSA dive certifications. Once certified, they will continue diving throughout the week, both from the dock of Captain Don’s Habitat and via boat dives to Klein Bonaire and other famous Bonaire dive sites. The group will also enjoy sightseeing, shopping, dining, and an authentic Texas-style BBQ. The highlight of the week will take place when the Bonaire community gathers to meet these extraordinary troops and their companions at a reception held in their honor with Bonaire’s first female Lt. Governor, the Honorable Lydia Emerencia.
Tourism Corporation Bonaire, www.tourismbonaire.com