CMU Plans Scuba Session For Vets

Fifteen U.S. military veterans from Truman Memorial Veteran’s Hospital in Columbia will undergo training of a different sort than they perhaps are accustomed, when they visit Central Methodist University for “Explore Scuba Day.”

Sponsored by CMU and its Marine Biology program, the session is set for Saturday, March 4 on the Fayette campus. Education and scuba training will take place in the morning.

Then, working with CMU Marine Biology students, the veterans will put on their gear and get a taste of scuba in CMU’s E.E. Rich Pool in the Philips-Robb Recreation Center early in the afternoon.

“We offer the program for our own students, and I thought it would be cool if we did this for some of our veterans,” noted Greg Thurmon, associate professor of biology and the person who came up with the idea. He heads the CMU Marine Biology program.

“Veterans are accustomed to being active but some now have a harder time because of physical disabilities,” Thurmon said. “But that changes in the water due to buoyancy, and scuba can give them a chance to experience an ‘adventure sport’.”

“Explore Scuba” is a basic introduction; any of the veterans interested in taking it to a more advanced level may be offered an open water certification course next fall, Thurmon added. He even has hopes of possibly taking certified veterans to the Gulf Coast for a dive at some point.

“We want to show our appreciation for our nation’s veterans by partnering with the Truman VA for this program,” noted Wayne Morse, CMU assistant director of plant operations. Morse, himself a disabled veteran, has been working with Thurmon on the project.

All instruction and training, use of facilities and equipment, and lunch are being provided by CMU.

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