Ken Hoon is a deputy sheriff. He and a small group of local deputies are taking a leap of faith by being the first class to enroll in a scuba diving class. It may not seem like it but by being underwater they’re dealing with an issue many first responders don’t talk about, post traumatic stress syndrome or PTSD.
“They go into situations that you can’t even describe with human words and come out and still be able to function with their families, still be able to function in society … the human mind is not designed to take that day in and day out for a 30 year career,” says Hoon.
Scuba diving instructor, Randy Lung, a former marine and deputy, says he was already using scuba diving to help fellow veterans with PTSD, “There’s actually been a study done that showed an 80 percent reduction in PTSD symptoms after going scuba diving.”
Then he lost a friend and fellow law enforcement officer, Rick Runstrom to suicide.
“I was mad at myself because I had been kind of studying PTSD, I didn’t notice any of the symptoms he was having so I want to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he says holding back tears.
So Lung created the non profit Dive Guardians to help first responders using scuba to heal from the stresses that come with running towards danger.
After three classes, Hoon a skeptic, is now a believer, “Absolutely, it was night and day … I definitely felt the benefits of it.”
Hoon says we all are linked to a first responder, “They’re their next door neighbors, they’re your cousins, they’re your brothers, they’re your sisters.”
He hopes this program reaches his fellow first responders suffering in silence.
“I know it will save lives,” says Hoon.
For more information, sponsor a first responder or to donate click: Dive Guardians