'Operation Surf': Helping Vets

A group in California is honoring veterans in an interesting way. It’s part of an effort to heal their bodies and minds.

Stephanie Elam has the story.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
(nats)
THESE BODIESPOWERING INTO THE PACIFIC OCEAN HAVE STORIES TO TELL.
(nats)
THEY BELONG TO AMERICAN AND BRITISH SOLDIERS -- SOME RETIRED, SOME STILL ACTIVE DUTY -- ALL MEN AND WOMEN INJURED WHILE SERVING THEIR COUNTRY.
(nats)
THIS IS OPERATION SURF - A CAMP DESIGNED TO AID THESE WOUNDED HEROES' MENTAL REHABILITATION BY FOCUSING ON THE PHYSICAL.
(Jake Vanhovel/Veteran)  "I've always wanted to try surfing."
JAKE VANHOVEL JOINED THE ARMY IN 2005. HE WAS INJURED IN AFGHANISTAN.
(Jake Vanhovel/Veteran)  "I've always wanted to try surfing."
"...my truck hit an IED ... yeah, broke my ankle, heel, my back, my arm and some other things."
FIVE YEARS LATER, JAKE ELECTED TO HAVE HIS LEG AMPUTATED BELOW THE KNEE. A CHOICE HE SAYS GREATLY IMPROVED HIS LIFE...
(nats)
...AND ALLOWED FOR THIS ADVENTURE.
(Jake Vanhovel/Veteran)  
"...I haven't ridden a wave all the way in yet so that needs to happen."
(nats)
CAMERON CROSBY WAS ON PATROL IN KOREA WHEN HE WAS PARALYZED AND HAD A COLLAPSED LUNG.
MORE THAN A YEAR SINCE HIS INJURY, HE'S BETTER BUT STILL HAS CHALLENGES.
(Cameron Crosby/Veteran)
"...my right side can still not feel temperature or pain and my left side has mobility issues.//BUTT TO//...it's a privilege to be out here."
BUT NOT ALL OF THESE SOLDIERS' WOUNDS ARE VISIBLE.
(nats)
(Stacy Ashton/Veteran)
"Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq a couple of times, Afghanistan..."
STACY ASHTON WAS A MEDIC IN THE BRITISH ARMY FOR NEARLY 14 YEARS.
(NATS reporter)
(Stacy Ashton/Veteran)
"For PTSD. I suffered for about 10 years on and off. And then kind of suffered from depression and anxiety."
(NATS reporter)
(Stacy Ashton/Veteran)
"Just some inner peace I think. Just stop being so sad. So..."
(Alana Hendrickson/Instructor, Operation Surf)
"99% of the time, they are standing up by the end of the day."
SURE ENOUGH IT'S NOT LONG BEFORE STACY IS UP ON HER BOARD.
(Stacy Ashton/Veteran)
"I did it! (laughs) I didn't think I'd be able to do it."
(Van Curaza/AmazingSurfAdventures.org)
"Okay, let's go!"
FOR 42 YEARS, VAN CURAZA HAS BEEN CATCHING WAVES.
HE BEGAN OPERATION SURF IN 2009.
(Van Curaza/AmazingSurfAdventures.org)
"It wasn't like this grand idea, it was just the opportunity to be able to be of service to our wounded service men and women in transition."
(Van Curaza/AmazingSurfAdventures.org)
"Line yourself up, perfect, paddle!"
(NATS ocean)
THE CLOSING CEREMONY IS BITTERSWEET- (NATS)- A TIME TO CELEBRATE GOALS THAT WERE MET AND SURPASSED; FRIENDSHIPS FORGED AND LESSONS LEARNED IN THE WATER.
(Voice of Cameron Crosby/Veteran)
"Surfing is amazing. It's a great rehab. A lot of my anxiety has gone down and I feel confident.
STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN, ON CALIFORNIA'S CENTRAL COAST


In that story, you heard the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Often abbreviated as PTSD, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental condition that can develop after seeing or experiencing a scary event.

Groups like the one you just saw in California, work to help our veterans develop skills to overcome PTSD.

Instructional Links

Video: Operation Surf Video

http://amazingsurfadventures.org/programs/operation-surf/

Website: Learn to Surf, Online Surf Lesson

http://www.learntosurf.com.au/page3.html

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