Hello! My name is Dan McCabe and I am an Army veteran from Memphis,
Tennessee currently residing in Port Saint Lucie, Florida. In 2006 I enlisted in
the Army after graduating high school and was honorably discharged in
2013. At the time, I had the rest of my life planned out and felt secure with
my decision to transition into civilian life. Like many veteran’s experience,
life threw a curve ball my way and the plans I made had to be adapted.
Fortunately, my time in the military taught me a great deal about
camaraderie, resilience and showed me the real-world benefits of hard work.
While these skills and character traits may be easy to build, sharpen, and
maintain in the service, they are exponentially more difficult to adhere to in
civilian life. When my original path did not work out as planned, I was not
sure what my next step should be. It took a few years to figure out, but I
decided to go to college and get my degree. In 2016 I enrolled in Embry-
Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU) and found it to be one of the best
decisions I have ever made. It was there that I came across some of the best
people I have ever met. James Maxwell and Chris Crawford were a few of the
many student veterans I formed friendships with that have led me to where I
am today. I found strength and comfort in the fact that we were all going
through our own unique struggle and it became clear that we could all work
to support each other. This group support eventually turned into an
organization on campus named the Student Veterans Organization (SVO)
designed to specifically benefit student veterans but was welcome to all.
Initially, I was invited onto the founding board as one of the two Community
Relations members in the SVO. Later, after being elected to the position of
President of the organization, I had the opportunity to make many positive
changes that I am proud of. With hard work and dedication, myself and the
board members were able to develop our SVO ultimately becoming a
recognized chapter of the Student Veterans of America. After my time was up
as President, the board and members elected Chris to become President of
the organization to further the work we had started. James Maxwell was the Vice President and worked with Chris to help make this possible.
Throughout the time that they continued building the organization my
personal bond with them grew. James was one of the most active members
of the SVO and often discussed the work he was doing with Dive Therapy.
When he explained the ways that diving can provide therapeutic relief to aid
in the prevention of veteran suicides I was immediately moved. I became a
certified diver at the age of 12 but had not been on a dive in quite some
time. I recognized James’ organization was so novel and beneficial that I
signed up to get recertified almost immediately. James’ and my friendship
grew as he gave me a refresher course. With is knowledge, patience, and
expertise I was back under the surface in no time.
I have personally discovered diving to be one of the most beneficial activities for mental health after separating from the military and I have not stopped diving since. I literally perceive my entire world to be brighter for days after a dive. For
those struggling to maintain mental resilience, I wholeheartedly recommend
diving as a source of comfort. Had I known this available when I first got out,
I genuinely feel I may have had fewer difficult struggles. When James offered
me the opportunity to be a part of Dive Therapy, I jumped at the chance and
was overjoyed. It is both an honor and a pleasure to help those in need. In
this deeply personal journey helping others has yet again helped me. I look
forward to meeting everyone interested in using diving as a tool to better
their life. By choosing to help yourself become stronger you are becoming a
part of our group helping others at the same time. Together we can build
friendships, have great experiences, and continue to work towards ending
veteran suicide together.