MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – An IED explosion left a soldier with PTSD along with brain and back injuries. It also cost him his career in the military. Today, he is getting a second chance.
Through the Veterans Benefits Foundation, medically retired Staff Sergeant Cliff Goble is the first disabled veteran to take part in a SCUBA Therapy Program on the East Coast.
He says being underwater is an escape from the pain and stress he suffers from every day.
"You didn't have the weight of walking or sitting or anything. I have really bad back problems and problems with my head, it was nice not to think about anything. You have other stuff to worry about, like checking my gear," he described after taking the first plunge into the dive tank at NU Horizons Dive Shop.
This program is being called "From Battles to Bubbles," and allows veterans with PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, and physical disabilities to be able to learn and be licensed in SCUBA diving.
William Furgione, the Chairman of the Veterans BenefitsFoundation, said he pulls from his own experience in the Marine Corps to help veterans locally.
He began researching the benefits of dive therapy and said it helps his own PTSD, giving him a way to relax and let the stress wash off of him.
Furgione explained that right now, the VBF is the only nonprofit organization offering the free services to veterans. He wants to expand the program.
"Let's say you're a double amputee, and you're a physical guy. You give your legs for your country. You get to wear that Purple Heart every day, but you have to look at other people walking around every day. Its kind of…'wow'. But, when you put a little air in your vest, you're just as mobile as the guy next to you," he explained.
He said the program wouldn't happen without the help from local business giving to the program.
NU Horizons Dive in Myrtle Beach provided the dive tank and equipment, while IKON Financial Group in Charleston funded the project, and the Freedom Boat Club, which will provide a boat for Goble's training in the ocean.
Goble hopes to continue the program and eventually become a certified trainer himself, training other soldiers dealing with similar situations.
While this is the first time a veteran is diving, VBF has been offering other services to veterans for over a year. This includes offering answers about their disability, locating lost records, applying for caregiver support, and helping with home improvements.
More can be found about the organization by visiting their website at www.VAanswers.org or calling 888-940-8387
Saturday, August 30 2014 6:46 AM EDT2014-08-30 10:46:21 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF News) - Even in the early morning hours, it is feeling rather humid in the Grand Strand. These muggy conditions will continue into our afternoon and evening today. The high temperaturesMore >>
Even in the early morning hours, it is feeling rather humid in the Grand Strand.
Friday, August 29 2014 10:37 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:37:39 GMT
HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County fire fighters worked nearly an hour to put out a mobile home fire Friday night. The fire broke out in a double-wide mobile home in the Maple community of the county,More >>
Horry County fire fighters worked nearly an hour to put out a mobile home fire Friday night.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 9:27 PM EDT2014-08-30 01:27:08 GMT
DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A man has been reported missing from the Hartsville area of Darlington County. Vincent Moore, 51, was last seen Tuesday, August 26 at around 4 p.m., according to SheriffMore >>
A man has been reported missing from the Hartsville area of Darlington County.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 7:02 PM EDT2014-08-29 23:02:58 GMT
(WMBF) - Are you ready for some football? Tonight is the first night of high school football in South Carolina! All night tonight, the WMBF News Sports team will be chatting and posting pics and scoresMore >>
Are you ready for some football? Week One of High School Football in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee starts tonight! All night tonight, the WMBF News Sports team will be chatting and posting pics and scores! More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 6:13 PM EDT2014-08-29 22:13:27 GMT
DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Traffic was at a standstill on Interstate 20 on Friday, as emergency responders worked to clear an accident. The crash happened at 4:27 p.m. in the eastbound lanes of I-20More >>
Traffic was at a standstill on Interstate 20 on Friday, as emergency responders worked to clear an accident.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 5:51 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:51:02 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Friday kicks off the first day of the Ninth annual Beach, Boogie and BBQ Festival at its new location. The three-day event will be held in front of the Horry-Georgetown TechnicalMore >>
Friday, August 29 2014 5:40 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:40:58 GMT
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - A Florida man has been named winner of the 31st annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship at Barefoot Resort's Dye Club. The following news release was issued byMore >>
A Florida man has been named winner of the 31st annual Myrtle Beach World Amateur Handicap Championship at Barefoot Resort's Dye Club.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 5:25 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:25:38 GMT
CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Former Conway pastors plead not guilty to a federal weapons charge during an arraignment. On Thursday, Archie Larue Evans, 42, of Aynor, plead not guilty to the charge of Felon inMore >>
Former Conway pastors plead not guilty to a federal weapons charge during an arraignment.More >>
Friday, August 29 2014 4:22 PM EDT2014-08-29 20:22:55 GMT
DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - First responders are working a one-car crash in Darlington County. The driver of a vehicle ran a stop sign and drove into a ditch at North Center Road and Bellyache BranchMore >>
First responders are working a one-car crash in Darlington County.More >>