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Underwater Warriors: Healing, mind, body, spirit

Soldier Sunday will be held for the first time on Sunday, August 5, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Monell’s Restaurant in Franklin, Tennessee, with proceeds benefiting the Underwater Warriors program at Fort Campbell.


200708_newsstand-1.JPGUnderwater Warriors Foundation Inc. provides scuba diving as mind, body, spirit therapy for severely injured soldiers. Underwater Warriors is part of a feature article, Fighting back, in the August issue of Scuba Diving magazine.

“Our warriors, every single one of them, are coming home injured”, says Nancy MacPherson, founder of Underwater Warriors, a Fort Campbell-based scuba diving program that has an optional therapeutic component soldiers can apply for. McPherson created Under Water Warriors a year ago as a non-profit organization.

Michael King, owner of Monell’s Restaurant (located just off the town square in Franklin) plans to host Soldier Sunday on the first Sunday of every month to benefit this unique program. Some program participants will be on hand to meet with guest, including Bryan Price, a Fort Campbell soldier, who is featured in the Scuba magazine article.

“Along with loss of limbs and other physical injuries, soldiers are experiencing short term memory loss and TBI, traumatic brain loss. And they are very angry. They already know that no one wants to hear about their anger. If someone does want to hear their story, the soldiers are very careful about who to talk too. They don’t want to be used by anyone for any reason.”

McPherson said the soldiers of today are “honest, patriotic and intelligent. But what do they do with their stress injuries, anguish and anger if no one can help them deal with it?” Such feelings are internalized, stuffed down inside and suffered, endured in silence. The soldiers suffer, and their families suffer because of it, McPherson said. She explained that returning soldiers come home to welcoming families but are withdrawn, experiencing outbursts of anger and no longer know how to re-adjust and reset purposes in their lives.

SCUBADIVING.COM August 2007 articleMcPherson started Underwater Warriors as a way to help these soldiers “find something that is fun, challenging, and healing.” The program’s result have exceeded her expectations. The water is soothing, has therapeutic properties. Being in the water helps her soldiers “reduce stress.”

“The water has a way of healing the anger that has welled up inside,” she said. “This activity casts no judgement … it gives them the challenge that they need in their life.” They are still warriors, she added. They do battle with their ailments, taking on the diving as a warrior would. Even missing limbs, they are stronger than most students she has. Diving is a challenge, and they “thrive on it.”

You can contact Underwater Warriors at 615-373-2879 or by logging into their website at www.underwaterwarriors.org.

No reservations are needed for the Soldier Sunday event, but those wanting more information or explicit directions can call the restaurant at 615-790-6998.

Debbie Boen
Debbie Boen
Debbie and her family moved to Clarksville slightly after the tornado of 1999. Debbie founded the group, Clarksville Freethinkers for Peace and Civil Liberties, in 2004. She participated in Gathering to Save Our Democracy, a group dedicated to obtaining free and verifiable elections in Tennessee. She has supported groups including the NAACP, Nashville Peace Coalition, PFLAG, Friends of Dunbar Cave and the Mountain Top Removal Series of Films and speakers. She participated as an artist in the ARTZ gallery group in Clarksville and won Best of Show, First and 2 Second Place awards for four of her sculptures. She won a voter's choice award for a performance at the Roxy Regional Theatre. She is a wife, mother and cancer survivor. She is always amazed at the capabilities of the human spirit, and the wisdom to find humor when there is none.

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