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MidCo Material Handling Awards Super Bowl Tickets to Heartbeat Wounded Warriors

This year's Super Bowl will be long remembered by Seattleites for its great catches, runs, cold weather and the long awaited World Championship title. But, two other guys, 30 yr. old Mark Dickison Jr. and 33 yr. old Jason Orme will remember this game for other reasons just as important as watching their Seahawks battle under cold New Jersey skies.

Sometime in mid January, Terry Bolinger, President/CEO and Phil Hanford, VP (owners) of Midco Material Handling Co. and decided they had a pretty good year in 2013 and wanted to do something special for those whose year may not have been as fortunate. Selecting the "special gift" was the easy part, the "how" was a little tougher. The gift would be two tickets to the Super Bowl along with $2,000 in cash to handle transportation and misc. expenses for two Wounded Warriors from the Seattle area.

The call went out to a popular Seattle icon for assistance. Jesse Jones, of King 5 fame, received the call for help from Phil Hanford. Jesse then made a call to one of his buddies, Ron Monaco, from Harbour Pointe Men's (Golf) Club in Mukilteo. Ron has been a loyal friend of Heartbeat Serving Wounded Warriors for a number of years and holds an annual fundraiser for them every 4th of July at the Mukilteo golf course.

Ron put together a list of "must haves" and "want to haves" and called Director Janice Buckley of Heartbeat. The two connected, and with Phil's assistance, identified some more helpful contacts to make this all happen. Within a short and pressure packed 48 hrs. the yeoman work…i.e., making the calls to book the airlines and hotel to say nothing of selecting the warriors to receive the donation as well as handling any gifts, cash donations, transportation, food and other misc. items were arranged by Janice & Heartbeat to make the trip complete. The Harbour Point Men's Club then stepped up with a cash donation to cover some misc. expenses. Then the Seahawks Community Relations office added some Seahawk gear for the perfect fan experience.

In addition to the incredible gifts, Terry Bolinger and Phil Hanford also volunteered employees and associates of Midco to assist in completing the challenges to pull this all off. Midco Branch Mgr. Jerry Dolan worked closely with Janice Buckley and contacted Mike Flood, the Seahawks Community Relations VP, who supplied Seahawk Jersey's, 12th Man rubber wristbands and stocking caps. Kudos also to Clark Material Handling executives Scott Johnson and Charlie Schwaz. Then there is John Wermert, VP of Raymond of New Jersey, who will be handling the east coast support activity.

At last count, some 7 different organizations and 10 executives (along with associated staffs) played an active role in putting this incredible journey together for these two very brave warriors.

These gift givers and support teams are typical of Wounded Warrior volunteers in the Northwest and around the country. It seems they can never do enough for our veterans. Characteristics our politicians and VA might take note of.

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Divers Get To See Different World

By Suzanne Ovel, Editor of the Phoenix Word, the Newsletter of the WTB at JBLM.

As a kid, he would sit with his uncle and be in awe over pictures that the Navy diver took of the un-derwater ocean. Bobby McGee got bit by the scuba bug young thanks to his uncle, but his dad's cautious nature kept him from trying out the sport while he was growing up.

Instead, that childhood dream laid dormant until just last month when McGee donned scuba gear for the first time with Heartbeat Serv-ing Wounded Warriors' scuba pro-gram. Now a staff sergeant and a Soldier in Transition, McGee joined the beginners' scuba course here in January and is about to complete his first open water dives.

"It's a different world; it's a dif-ferent experience," said McGee, who plans on taking Heartbeat's ad-vanced course and eventually be-coming a dive instructor.

He encourages others who have-n't tried scuba to join the course, even if they have some trepidation.

"If any other people want to try diving and have a fear of being un-derwater, give it a shot first and see what you might be missing," he said. He said that all the dives are supervised, and participants are given good instruction on how to use snorkels, how to clear water in their masks, and more.

Both the beginners' course and the advanced course are taught by Advanced Dive Instructor Mike Biggs, a WTB Veteran who went through the Heartbeat program himself in 2011. While he was a proverbial rookie back then, now he averages about 250 dives a year.

"For me, when I'm underwater, there's no pain; pain just leaves my body, and I can focus better. It's a won-derful feeling," Biggs said.

Now he's helping other Soldiers learn the sport. Heartbeat offers a beginners' course every five weeks, which includes classroom time, pool time, and two open water dives. Those who are interested in continuing to dive can join the advanced course, which is offered about every three months. The next advanced course will start in April, and will be combined with stress and rescue training; divers will learn skills such as how to do search patterns, how to share air, and other stressful surface situations.

The scuba program is now also allowing spouses to sign up for courses with their Soldiers.

"This way they've got a diving buddy all the time, they keep the relationship tight, and keep the family unit together," Biggs said.

Beyond strengthening family ties, scuba can help Soldiers build a social network with other divers, and can build a sense of trust and teamwork, said Kim Drown, a recreation therapist here. It can also help divers to increase cognitive function and independence, and to decrease anger.

"It gives them a sense of peace in the water," Drown said.

Scuba can also offer Soldiers a new hobby that they can take with them when they leave the WTB, and could offer future employment options as dive instruc-tors.

For some, getting involved with a new activity while injured or ill can also offer hope.

"They actually realize that their life is not over. They realize that they can live with whatever they have going on physically or mentally and still use a high-functioning skill," Drown said.


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