Who we are

We are a group of volunteers that believes in supporting our community with our passion of scuba diving through the Dive Pirates Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity

The Dive Pirates Foundation is dedicated to bringing scuba diving to persons with mobility disabilities. What began in 2003 as a social club for divers is now a non-profit foundation that teaches, equips and takes disabled people on life changing scuba diving adventures.

While the program is open to all medically qualified physically disabled people, Dive Pirates focuses on disabled military, law enforcement and first responder veterans who have sustained injuries in the line of duty. Some of these men and women have lost a part of their youth in combat; we aim to help restore a sense of adventure, community and hope for these wounded warriors.

So if it’s the pirate life for you then there are numerous ways in which you can Get Involved, to pledge your allegiance to a great cause!

What we do

Dive Pirates supports, trains, equips and provides dive travel to individuals with disabilities through Adaptive Scuba Diving:-

  • Raising funds through annual fundraisers, memberships, sponsors, crowdfunding websites, grants and dive chapters.
  • Recruiting injured veterans and others who are medically qualified and physically disabled, helping to change lives
  • Training and equipping them to scuba dive as well as their classified buddy (i.e. spouse, sibling, friend, parent)
  • Taking them on a trip of a lifetime
  • Encouraging and supporting them to continue diving as part of their lifestyle and well as rehabilitation.



Susan DeVore


Susan joined the Dive Pirates Foundation in 2014 with more than 20 years of dive industry experience including marketing, sales and management. Susan handles the day-to-day operations of the foundation. Susan graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in business administration with a concentration in marketing.

Theresa Cortez


Theresa started her own public relations consulting business in 2010, TBarC Communications, and handles all internal and external communications for the Dive Pirates Foundation.

Theresa graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism, and spent 10 years as a broadcast journalist before branching into public relations in 2001.

hellen-pirateHellen Armstrong


Hellen is a British-trained diving instructor and boat captain, who left the UK after a few years of working to see the world; diving in places like Thailand and Egypt and working in Cyprus, Seychelles, United Arab Emirates and most recently Cayman Brac.  Hellen is a PADI Master Instructor, SSI Master Instructor/Classified Diver Instructor and a RAID Instructor is happy to share with the Dive Pirates her unique mix of skills and experience both from within and outside of the dive industry through her own company Stretch Business Solutions LLC.


Barbara Thompson


Barbara is a RAID Instructor Trainer as well as a RAIDaptive Dive Instructor Trainer and co-founder of Dive Pirates.  When not teaching and diving, Barbara works with Subsea Engineering Technologies as Vice President of Business Development and Marketing.  Barbara oversees fundraising efforts, liaises with the dive industry, maintains foundation records and recruits new students.

Sophie Wimberley


Sophie is also a co-founder of Dive Pirates and a RAID Instructor Trainer, as well as a DAN Instructor Trainer. She is a Director, Global Medical In Oncology for Merck & Co., Inc. Sophie is involved in teaching instructors, students, oversees updates for the website, participates in fundraising and travel plans.

Hallie Byth


Hallie is a Dive Control Specialist with SSI and has been diving since 2003. She is a SSI Classified Dive Buddy along with her father and sister who are also Dive Pirates. She is working as a petroleum engineer with Chevron.


Gillian Tilbury


Gillian has been diving since the mid-80’s and is an SSI OWI and SSI Classified Instructor. Known to her fellow pirates as Gangplank Gilly, she has been a supporter of Dive Pirates for many years and is now coordinating efforts for our Fundraising Committee. When not plundering the seas, Gillian is a Managing Director for The Carnrite Group.

Board of Directors

D’Artagnan Bebel

D’Artagnan is a Dive Control Specialist continuing his education in scuba while bringing a wealth of knowledge in change management to the board. He is currently the Vice President and General Manager of Fox 26 KRIV-TV in Houston, Texas and is very active in giving back to the community.

Sean Barr

Retired USMC Corporal Sean Barr is a Project Engineering Manager at Subsea7 in Houston, Texas. A person with quadriplegia since 1995, Sean was a 2007 recipient of the Dive Pirates Foundation and has since returned on many trips as well as being an ongoing contributor to the growth of the foundation and a role model for veterans with recent mobility injuries.

Tyler Brandes

Tyler has been diving since 1992, he has been a PADI Divemaster, SSI Dive Control Specialist, Platinum Pro 5000 Diver and is currently a RAID and DAN Instructor. Tyler lives in Tennessee, where he is the Chief of his community’s Fire Department and also works with the county Rescue Squad as a member of their dive team. In his time off he enjoys snorkeling and diving with his wife and three sons.

Clay McCollor

Clay is a business attorney, he served four years active duty in the U.S. Army Field Artillery achieving the rank of Captain.  He was the fourth generation in his family to serve on active duty. Clay is also a proud Aggie and still attends A&M football games each season. He is a devoted family man and loves spending time with his wife and five children. They enjoy a variety of outdoor activities including hiking, bicycling, fishing, and swimming.

Dr. Mark Fredrickson

Mark is a practicing physician with quadriplegia, specializing in rehabilitation medicine for those with spinal cord injuries. When Dr. Fred isn’t diving, he’s a physician partner with Rehabilitation Consultants, LLP, and was instrumental in creating standards for divers with spinal cord injuries.

Jose Grinan

Jose, a SSI Classified Dive Buddy, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Dive Pirates since he first heard of us and began Emceeing our annual Pirates Ball in 2006. He has been the morning anchor on Fox 26 Houston since 1998 and is a prolific community supporter. He has been diving since 1985 and is an Army Veteran.

Robin Reynolds

Robin started diving in 2002 and is a SSI Open Water Instructor and a Classified Dive Instructor. In 2016, she celebrated her 400th dive. She usually dives with her daughters, Carly and Paige, who are also Dive Pirates. Robin works at ExxonMobil in Houston.

Col. Preston F. McFarren, USAF

Col. McFarren continues his service in the Air Force Reserves after a long and decorated career with the United States Air Force, including two deployments; one to Iraq, one to Afghanistan focusing on airfield logistics and transportation. He also leads a successful civilian career in pharmaceutical sales and team development. He is an avid scuba diver and has been a friend and supporter of Dive Pirates for many years.

Advisory Council


Lou Brown

Lou is a West Texas rancher, political advisor, critter keeper, and organist for the local monastery. She has lots of divers in the family, but much prefers to sit on the beach and listen to the surf. She brings terrific experience in organization and fund raising. Since the beginning of Dive Pirates, she has been involved in creating the organization and has continued to support the foundation with her talent and treasure!


Sue Chen

Sue was born in Taiwan and has been a Los Angeles resident for more than 20 years. Feeling deeply connected to the ocean, Sue received her open water certification in 2005 and since has been involved with ocean conservation and sharing the joy of diving. Sue shares the passion of sharing mobility with others, as she is the CEO of NOVA Medical Products. Being involved with Dive Pirates is a perfect fit combining her passions for human empowerment and diving.


Martin Cortez 

Martin is a seasoned videographer that got his start on local Television in his hometown of Midland, TX and worked his way to the Fox affiliate in San Antonio, specializing in sports and action videography.  He is now a free-lance outdoor sports videographer and part time rancher in West Texas.  He has been involved in both videography and video editing for Dive Pirates since its beginning in 2005.  His diving career started with Dive Pirates and continues today!


Bob Evans

“Overboard” Bob is a retired Navy (civilian) Mechanical Engineer who has been diving since 1994. As a PADI Divemaster & SSI Classified Dive Buddy from Indiana, Bob works to promote the Foundation and encourages all prospective adaptive divers to come and join the Pirate crew.


Emily Franco 

Emily is a Sales Engineer with Johnson Controls in Houston. She is a PADI Dive Master and a SSI Open Water Instructor and a Classified Dive Instructor. Emily joined the Foundation after a trip in the Caymans where she met a few other pirates. Since then she is eager to promote the Foundation and encourage all prospective adaptive divers to come and join the Pirate crew.


Pete Gamble

In 2015, Pete achieved the milestone of Master Diver with SSI, after 12 years and the support of many patient people who have always been there to help him. Pete enjoys diving wrecks, honing his buoyancy and navigation skills with his underwater scooter, while sharing his love of diving with other people. Grant writing and speaking to other groups about Dive Pirates is how Pete has contributed to the foundation.


Edie Guess 

Edie has been diving since 2005 and loving every single minute of it!  She is very passionate about what Dive Pirates is doing, especially since she is an adaptive diver who was certified through the New Mexico Chapter of the Dive Pirates Foundation. She is currently helping raise funds for the New Mexico Chapter of Dive Pirates, while planning her next diving adventure!


Gardiner Henderson

Gardiner has been diving since 2007 and has passed 350 dives.  He is an accomplished underwater (UW) photographer, as well as holding an SSI Classified Diver Buddy rating.  Many of his photos grace both our website, as well as all the Classified Diver Certification cards.  Gardiner is the Corporate Director for Oil and Gas at Eaton.  He has raised corporate funds on our behalf through his many connections.


Nigel Lakey

With a pirate’s soul as long as he can remember, and diving since 1985, Nigel is an SSI AOWI and SSI Classified Instructor. Since becoming involved with Dive Pirates in 2004, Nigel has been on a mission to work less and dive more and has made the first step by retiring from the Oil & Gas business and starting his own hedge fund. Nigel will assist in the essential elements of all things Pirate: Education, Training and Pillaging…Sorry, meant to say Fundraising…..


Mark Parker

Mark began his diving career in 1999 and today, he is a SSI Instructor Trainer as well as a SSI Classified Dive Instructor Trainer. His vision for the Dive Pirates Foundation is to spread the opportunity of diving to everyone interested in learning how to dive.


Chris Pulliam

Chris has been diving since 1996 and is currently a SSI Advanced Open Water Instructor and SSI Classified Dive Instructor. She is a physical therapist at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. Her vision for the foundation is to support our military wounded through scuba diving, and she is actively involved in the training and instruction of students in the San Antonio, TX.


Ginny Pulliam

Ginny has been diving since 1997 and she is an advance open water diver, as well as a SSI Classified Dive Buddy. Ginny is a retired Army operating room nurse, and presently, is enjoying her RV, traveling throughout the US. She has been active in the Dive Pirates since the beginning, and she continues to support our divers by attending our annual trip.


Byrdie Thompson

Byrdie lives in Tulsa, OK which is not considered a diving mecca, but she stays close to our organization by giving great advice on how we raise funds and generously giving herself. She does not dive, but thinks the program is terrific. She has worked in charitable giving for 30 years in Tulsa and is a great resource for us.


Trudy Viers

Trudy has been diving since 1978, SSI certified, advanced open water diver. She has been supportive of Dive Pirates since the beginning of the foundation.  For many years Trudy was the manager or the Brac Reef Beach Resort and helped facilitate dive trips, helping create many of the traditions carried out today.