Volunteer Spotlight

Systems Analysis and Operability Engineer Gene (Tony) Crease of the West Palm Beach facility parlayed his love of the ocean and scuba diving into two volunteering opportunities to give something back.

First, he got involved with a group in Jupiter, Florida, “Veterans Adaptive Sports,” that promotes the rehabilitation of disabled military veterans through scuba diving as well as other activities. They are affiliated with “Veterans Ocean Adventures” out of Miami. Both organizations serve our veterans with spinal cord injuries, orthopedic amputations, visual impairments and neurological injuries. To help out, Tony offers his boat for fishing to veterans who don’t want to be in the water during retreats.

His son Anthony and daughter Melissa (ex-Navy Reserve) act as captain and mate when Tony is not available due to diving with the veterans. He went through additional scuba diving training through Handicapped Scuba Association International to be certified as a “Buddy Diver.” This training provided him with specialized knowledge necessary for safely planning and diving with divers with disabilities.

Secondly, he joined the Palm Beach County Reef Research Team. The group of volunteer sport divers formed in 1991 to monitor the 25 artificial reefs and three natural reefs out of the four inlets in the county. The team’s mission is to observe, collect, document and record scientific data for use in further enhancing our marine habitats. The team maps, conduct fish counts, and monitors invertebrate status on many of Palm Beach County’s man-made and natural reefs, through both funded and unfunded projects. They inform state and local officials and the general public of the results, and of the need for protecting all reefs. Tony’s main job with the team is lionfish removal. Many of the removed lionfish are given to a Disney researcher to further determine their effects on our ocean.

If you’d like to learn more about Veterans Adaptive Sports, visit the website at http://www.veteransadaptivesports.org/.

For more information about Veterans Ocean Adventures, you can visit http://veteransoceanadventures.org/.

To check out the Palm Beach County Reef Research Team’s website, go to http://www.pbcrrt.org/.