VA Hospital Veterans go SCUBA diving

            Thursday morning, March 31, 2016 a group of amputee service veterans from the San Juan Veterans Administration Hospital gathered on the beach at the Normandie/Escambron area.  They were there to participate in a Snorkel/SCUBA beach activity sponsored by the Bayamon Chapter 16 of the Puerto Rico Disabled American Veterans, and local aquatic legend, Harry Hauck, and his team of Master Diver Instructors. 

            The amputee veterans were taken into shallow water by one of Harry’s team, on a one-to-one basis.  There, they were able to put on a diving mask and SCUBA gear and then guided around the shallow area of the beach.  Fortunately, the local marine life came out to visit the veterans.  Small sea turtles, schools of fish and other creatures were there for the veterans to see.  The amputees were ecstatic to be able to breathe underwater and to communicate with the marine life.

            Afterwards, the veterans were treated to a picnic lunch by members of Bayamon Chapter 16, DAV.  The veterans were accompanied by members of the VA Hospital medical staff:  Dr. Ana Cintron, Physical Medicine and Rehab Physician; Dr. Marilyn Rodriguez Perez, PT/Amputation Rehabilitation Coordinator; and Mr. George Vega, Recreation Therapist.  Members of Chapter 16 present were:  George Smith, Commander; and Chapter officers, William Landes, Prospero Fuentes, Francisco Santiago and James Sargeant.  Hauck’s dive team consisted of his son, Harry, Jr., lawyer Carlos Geigel (ex-Navy Seal) and Karen and Tony Vega, owners of Caribbean Aquatic Adventures, who contributed their time and diving equipment.  Earlier this year, Hauck had conducted a similar beach activity for members of Puerto Rico’s Wounded Warriors.

Photo – Amputee veteran Wilmundo Marchany (right) received SCUBA tips             from instructor Harry Hauck, Jr. (left)