Veterans need YOUR help to save coral reefs devastated by Hurricane Irma and Maria, and save themselves in the process!
Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck the Caribbean and Puerto Rico in September with deadly force, leaving a trail of horrific destruction for some of the world's most precious coral reefs. Without coral reefs, over 4,000 species of fish, 800 species of hard corals, and hundreds of other species are in danger. Veterans have stepped in to help.
Force Blue is deploying its team of veteran Special Operations Forces divers to restore coral reefs in the aftermath of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. These SOF veterans are returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with an incredible amount of pain and trauma, made worse by a feeling of "separation from service" and the lack of a positive mission going forward. In fact, every year an estimated 8,000 veterans commit suicide.
By training SOF veterans to restore coral reefs damaged by the Hurricanes, Force Blue seeks to address two seemingly unrelated problems — the devastation of the Caribbean's marine resources, and the difficulty returning combat veterans have in adjusting to civilian life.
Force Blue needs YOUR help to realize these missions. Following initial deployments in October and November 2017, Force Blue plans to deploy on 4 to 6 missions to the damaged reef sites in Southern Florida and Puerto Rico. They also plan to continue to recruit and train veteran divers and provide consistent mission–based employment and opportunity for service. With your help. we can unite the veteran community with the world of marine conservation for the betterment of both.
You can help. Join Force Blue's One Team, One Fight. Help create purpose and honor of service for returning Veterans. Help restore and protect our oceans, bays, rivers and streams damaged by Hurricane Irma and Maria. As one Force Blue veteran explained, this program "finally shows [me] the way home."
Report From The Field
FORCE BLUE dispatched to the Tavernier Florida Coral Nursery to search for coral that had been displaced due to Hurricane Irma. During this initial 8–day first phase deployment together with its partners NOAA and CRF, FORCE BLUE's Team 1 divers flipped displaced coral back into place; re–stabilized fragments of endangered Elkhorn Coral; collected an array of corals for cementation back onto the reef; and replaced trees in the nursery. Each tree holds 60 staghorn corals and required substantial cleaning. An astounding 500 new fragments of Staghorn Coral was replanted onto the coral trees in the nursery. In a couple months these corals will be ready to be harvested and taken to the reef.
FORCE BLUE is a non–profit 501(c)(3) that seeks to unite the community of Special Operations Veterans with the world of coral reef conservation for the betterment of both. FORCE BLUE gives former combat divers and SOF veterans an opportunity to experience and explore one of the most critically endangered ecosystems on the planet and to adapt their training and teamwork to aid in its protection.
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