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Dive for Freedom helps veterans relax, take break from reality

The veterans will travel from Tiki 52 to Jupiter Inlet
Dive For Freedom Wounded Veterans Relief Fund July 3 2023
Posted at 8:53 AM, Jul 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-03 09:58:11-04

TEQUESTA, Fla. — As people celebrate freedom and independence this week, much of it came at a cost.

Millions of military veterans live with a disability as a result of their service and sacrifice.

South Florida is home to many disabled veterans and on Monday they get to take their mind off everything and focus on sharks.

WPTV anchor and Navy veteran Mike Trim went along for the trip.

It’s called the Dive for Freedom, which is coordinated by Wounded Veterans Relief Fund for the eighth year.

“They look forward to this every single year. Months out they’ll be like can I come on this shark dive? These are a lot of the veterans that we’ve helped here," Wounded Veterans Relief Fund's Mike Durkee said. "We’ve helped them with homelessness prevention, their critical dental care. These are our purple heart and disabled veterans that come together and partake in this unique experience on the water with sharks.”

From Tiki 52, the veterans will travel out to Jupiter Inlet and free dive
with the Shark Addicts Diving team—they specialize in shark dives.

A video from dive for freedom a few years ago shows veterans with their masks and flippers, and sharks swimming up to them.

For many veterans on this trip, the Dive for Freedom is a break from reality.

“Being around these great people that have sacrificed so much for our country and then getting in the water with sharks. I know, it’s crazy, it’s not a normal thing to do, but I mean we’re vets,” Army veteran John Rourke said. “It’s one of the closest things that you’ll be able to simulate that feeling of going outside the wire.”

All the excitement in the leadup pre-party events for this trip helped raise money for Wounded Veterans Relief Fund.