VPSI is proud to sponsor Operation Surf—a week-long, intensive rehabilitative program that uses surfing to help wounded veterans overcome their physical and psychological injuries. Many of the wounded service members traveled from Texas’ Center for the Intrepid—some of them had never seen the ocean before. After arriving in Cocoa Beach, FL, participants were matched with an instructor and a team of safety volunteers to help them learn the basics of paddling and riding waves.
Kelly Patterson was wounded in action, and when the doctors went in to replace her hip, they found cancer. Kelly beat the cancer, and showed the same tenacity during Operation Surf—she was paddling into waves by herself and going down the line by Day 2. (Photo Credit: Florida Today, March 20th 2015)
“VPSI is proud of it’s heritage in support of this nations Services, Departments, and Agencies, particularly the Department of Defense. Many VPSI employees are veterans, and giving back, in support of those who have been injured in service to the country, is an important element of who VPSI is” commented VPSI CEO, Mr. Paul Ilg (VADM, USN (ret)). With a growing presence in the Florida region, it was an honor to connect with not only the local community, but the veterans who live in the area.”
Several of the 12 surfers were single or double amputees, and they spent the next week adapting their stances and fine-tuning their balance so that they could catch waves and ride them all the way to the beach. Many of the wounded veterans credit this program with saving their lives—they finished up the week feeling empowered and excited for the next Op Surf event.