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 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity 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.

 

Organization

Susan DeVore

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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

DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

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

MARKETING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

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, RAID Instructor /RAIDaptive Instructor and SDI Instructor/Scubility Instructor and 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.

Officers

Sophie Wimberley

PRESIDENT

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.

Gardiner Henderson

PRESIDENT ELECT

Gardiner will be joining us as president-elect, working closely with Sophie and the board to get up to speed. A long time pirate, he was a board member from 2006-2010 and secured much needed matching funds from his employer at the time, while also leveraging contacts in the industry for support and awareness. He currently works for Flotek as Senior Vice President, Operations.

Hallie Byth

SECRETARY

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

TREASURER

has served as treasurer for the past year and will continue keeping the books for the crew. She 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.

Janeen Judah

Janeen is currently an independent director for a publicly traded corporation and recently retired as an executive at Chevron. She was also the 2017 President of the Society of Petroleum Engineers International. She is a PADI Open Water Instructor, longtime fish

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.

Barbara Thompson

Barbara is a RAID Instructor Trainer as well as a RAIDaptive Dive Instructor Trainer and co-founder of Dive Pirates. Barbara oversees fundraising efforts, liaises with the dive industry, maintains foundation records and recruits new students.

Lt. Col. Allen West

Allen B. West is the  former Executive Director for the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas, Texas.  During his 22 year career in the United States Army, West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals and a Valorous Unit Award. In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District. West is an avid distance runner, a Master scuba diver, a motorcyclist, and in his spare time he enjoys cheering his beloved Tennessee Volunteers.

Advisory Council

Lou Brown

Lou_Brown_Advisory Council 2018Lou 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_Chen__Advisory Council 2018Sue 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!

 

Charles “Mackie” Davis

Headshot of Charles Davis in the poolA true lover of life. Mackie was a student at Rice aviation and an avid motorcyclist until his spinal cord injury in 1990.  In the spring of 2016, a member of the Dive Pirates introduced me to what I now describe as “the life changing world of SCUBA.” Since then, he has worked towards becoming an advanced open water diver, and is looking forward to being a part of the “pay it forward” team with the Dive Pirates.  I enjoy reaching out to other disabled individuals to help introduce them to the world of SCUBA and look forward to my next underwater adventure.

Janette “Nettie” Evans

Nettie_Evans_Advisory_Council 2018‘Nettie the Red’ as the crew affectionately calls her, Nettie is one of the three founders of Dive Pirates who continues to be a great source of ideas and direction.  With more than 50 years of business experience in the hardware industry, she also enjoys her dogs, fast cars, crocheting and diving with her diving friends.

 

Bob Evans

Bob_Evans__Advisory Council 2018“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.

Pete Gamble

Pete_Gamble_Advisory_Council 2018In 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.

Jose Griñan

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 Dive Pirates Ball in 2006. He has been the morning anchor on Fox 26 Houston since 1998 and is a prolific communist supporter. He has diving since 1985 and is a veteran of the US Army.

Edie Guess 

Edie_Guess Advisory_Council 2018Edie 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!

Jean Jones

Jean Jones headshotJean has been diving since 1983 and since her retirement from IT and the “Dive Shop”, she has volunteered as an instructor for Dive Pirates. Jean is a RAIDaptive Instructor and a Master Instructor with SSI and this has been some of the most rewarding and challenging teaching that she has ever done. She learns new things every time she teaches. She loves sharing her love and knowledge for the underwater with new students.  When she is not off on dive trips or teaching, she spends her spare time working on her crafting.

 

 

 

Todd Kemery

Todd Kemery Headshot sat in lobby at Cayman Brac Reef ResortAs my life has been enhanced by the vision and mission of the Dive Pirates organization. My goal is to be an ambassador for the sport here in Minnesota. I am honored to work with Dive Pirates, especially as I have a unique insight having been in a wheel chair for the past 36+ years and all that represents. As a peer mentor at the VA, I have had the opportunity to hone my skills at relating and increasing my effectiveness in counseling others, that are just starting out in a wheel chair.

Capt Marlene Krpata

Marlene_Krpata__Advisory Council 2018Marlene was a leg limb salvage after suffering a mortar attack while serving in Iraq.  In 2011 she decided to amputate her leg below the knee.  Since her amputation she has been back playing softball and running around with her nieces and nephew.  Swimming in the ocean has had a calming effect on Marlene since  she returned to the states and she is excited about her scuba certification and becoming a Dive Pirate.

Nigel Lakey

Nigel_Lakey Advisory_Council 2018With 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…..

Anne Larboullet

Anne_Larboullet Advisory Council 2018Born and raised in Paris, Anne moved to Houston for her oil & gas work in June 2012. Anne connected with DPF for two reasons: she always wanted to scuba dive, and she wanted to give something back to American veterans who bravely fought in France during WWII. Anne was certified in 2014, is now a master diver and a classified dive buddy, looking forward to furthering her diving education. When not diving or volunteering for DPF, Anne is working hard on setting up her online jewelry store (Pink Chiffon Jewelry). She also loves cooking, yoga, spending time with her family in Paris and organizing pirate parties for our Houston recipients

Cassandra MacDowell

Cassie MacDowell Headshot on beach in Cayman BracCassie has been with the foundation since 2015 as our Cayman Brac events and now underwater photographer. By being born on Cayman Brac to two dive instructor parents, Cassie is very in tune with her inner island girl. Aspiring to be an environmental researcher she is an avid diver and conservationist on the island. 

Linda Maune

Linda Maune Advisory Council 2018Linda is a retired public school teacher who can’t stop teaching!  She started diving in 2000 – became a SCUBA instructor in 2009 and has been teaching each summer in the Florida Keys ever since!

That grew into tour directing in 2015, so has been showing folks our wonderful WORLD above and below the water! In her spare time she officiates volleyball and basketball, Linda just loves helping others get out there and have fun.

Mark Parker

Mark_Parker Advisory_Council 2018Mark 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 Pulley

Chris Pulley is a Vice President at Bank of America.  Chris was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a form of Muscular Dystrophy, at the age of 12.  As the disease progressed, Chris transitioned from walking, to cane assistance, to a manual wheelchair. He has not let his physical limitations shape the way he lives his life. Chris has pursued water skiing, snow skiing, and other adaptive sports. However, his true passion is scuba diving. Chris’s first dive was with Dive Pirates in 2005. In 2017 he logged is century dive with Dive Pirates in Cayman Brac.

Chris Pulliam

Chris_Pulliam Advisory_Council 2018Chris 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_Pulliam Advisory_Council 2018Ginny 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.

Lea Ann Robertson

Lea Ann Robertson Advisory Council 2018Lea Ann has been diving since the late 1970s but now days snorkels more than dives.  When in clear water environments, she spends her time encouraging numerous young grandchildren the joys and wonders of the underwater world.  Lea Ann is a Managing Director at The Carnrite Group (with Gangplank Gilly) and looks forward to support DPF in strategy and business operation improvements so the Pirate leaders can focus on providing great experiences for adaptive divers

Rhonda Sizemore

Headshot of photo of Rhonda Sizemore Advisory Council memberRhonda has been diving since 1990 with both PADI and RAID Rescue Diver and RAIDaptive buddy plus is working on her dive master certification. While on a trip to Cayman Brac she and her husband, Harvey, were intrigued on how the organization it helped so many. Rhonda is a retired Cardiovascular Interventional Specialist. Diving was given a new meaning when she begin to dive with Dive Pirates. “I know when you gift one person with the ability to dive free from restrictions on land you realize, one is NOT enough.” There is “no disabilities only possibilities”

Byrdie Thompson

Byrdie_Thompson Advisory_Council 2018Byrdie 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_Viers Advisory_Council 2018Trudy has been diving since 1978, SSI certified, advanced open water diver. She has been supportive of Dive Pirates since the beginning of the foundation.  As manager or the Cayman Brac Reef Beach Resort Trudy has helped facilitate dive trips, helping create many of the traditions carried out today.