HOT SPRINGS, Ark. (KARK)– A non-profit’s mission to help military families and first responders is going above and beyond showing their appreciation in a unique way.
It’s called The Fearless Rock Dive and it’s all thanks to The Sheep Dog Impact Assistance of Central Arkansas.
It was all blue skies and sunshine at Blakely Mountain Dam at Lake Ouachita on Saturday.
“It’s a pretty special place,” Jeff Watts said.
Combat wounded veterans and first responders injured in the line of duty prepared to scuba dive for the first time.
“It’s an awesome experience,” Watts added.
It’s what’s below the surface that makes the experience special.
“At first you’re kind of smiling and you get a little somber because you realize what it’s for,” Christopher McKay said.
At 24-feet under the surface there is a memorial for fallen Navy Seal Adam Lee Brown.
“He went from being addicted to being an Elite Navy Seal with Seal Team Six. He was killed in action,” Watts said.
The memorial showcases a stone of Brown, his favorite Bible verse and challenge coins from across the world.
“You have to do it to describe it. It’s just like a whole different world down there,” Klenith English said.
The Sheep Dog Impact Assistance group is giving veterans and first responders a unique experience.
“It’s one of those things where we get them off the couch, get them moving, remind them that they still have abilities beyond their injuries and that they can be around other men and woman who have similar incidents,” Watts continued.
Retired Army veteran Christopher McKay remembers having a hard time getting back on track.
“It was extremely difficult. I would go off in a dark place. I was extremely isolated,” McKay said.
He says Saturday’s opportunity was amazing.
“It’s organizations like Sheep Dog Impact Assistance that helped me get off the couch and it gives me a purpose” he said.
He says he can’t wait to do it again.
“I got me a momentous so I’ll always remember this moment,” McKay said.
The Dive Shop of Little Rock provided all the gear.
The veterans and first responders received several gifts, including a book about Brown’s life.