By Founder and President Kurt Lieber
Today I received word that I've been chosen as Scuba Diving magazine's "SEA HERO OF THE YEAR", and want to immediately share this with everyone on the ODA team and support network!
Although I am the one named as "hero," in my mind this is an organizational award: because without all of you, our fantastic volunteers and donors, ODA would not exist and this would not have happened. I thank you all for helping to make this happen, and for your work defending the oceans.
It gets even better! Scuba Diving magazine is going to donate $5,000 to ODA, and Oris Watches USA is sending me a fancy watch! Both of these things will help keep us on time, and on (and under!) the water saving marine life. Yippie!
How This Came About
"How did this happen" you ask? Well let me explain. In August of this year, I was contacted by Scuba Diving magazine Deputy Editor Mary Frances Emmons. She said I had been nominated for a prize they award once a year. It is called the "Sea Hero of the Year" and the goal is to:
"Shine a spotlight on people working to save our seas through action-oriented
education, conservation, exploration, and innovation."
They had selected a total of six people for their judges pick from. Although I don't know them personally, I have read about and admired these people for a long time: Ned DeLoach, Anna DeLoach, Giacomo Palavicin, Laura James, and Rick Morris. This is pretty heady company to be in and I am honored that I--and ODA--are sharing the spotlight with them!
Please enjoy these pictures of many of our dedicated volunteer crew who share in this honor. Then, please continue reading the article below. :)
Like most of us "aqua-nuts," I started reading Skin Diver magazine way back in the 70's. I was living in Cleveland, Ohio, and couldn't wait to receive my monthly subscription. It was full of stories and photos of pristine, exotic, faraway places that I dreamed about one day getting a chance to dive in.
Those magazines inspired thousands of us to get certified and get out and explore the underwater world! That is what I have been doing ever since.
Sometime in the 90's Skin Diver magazine morphed into Scuba Diving magazine.
I can't tell you what an honor this is.
I was the one patiently waiting for my monthly magazine to show up at my door step. It inspired me to go on a lifelong quest of exploration, and as I did that I found a lot of things in our oceans need help. Now the work of ODA is featured in that same magazine. That, my friends, is pretty darn cool. I feel like a kid again: filled with excitement, and ready to get back in the water!
To the Divers and All Ocean Lovers
A sincere message to all of the divers reading this article: I figured out a way I could enjoy the oceans while giving back and making a difference. ODA crews remove ghost gear and other deadly debris from the sea, and I hope that reading this article will similarly inspire you to help make a difference for ocean wildlife and ecosystems.
Get out there and witness the magic that lies in our waters. Have fun, get your adrenaline fix, and then return the favor to our underwater friends by doing what you can to make the oceans more hospitable.
Through this alliance of ocean defenders, we offer you the opportunity to make a difference in the world. Will you help us recreate conditions that will allow marine life to thrive?
I offer my sincere thanks to everyone on the ODA team that has helped make us so effective, and offer an invitation for everyone else to join is!
"It is not enough to understand the natural world; the point is to defend and
preserve it." - Edward Abbey
Click here to read the article.