Former Lance Corporal Benjamin Hetrick, USMC
Ben’s life changed forever when he was involved in a motorcycle accident in 2012. The crash caused a complete break of his spinal cord at the T-12 vertebra, paralyzing him completely from the waist down. His ordeal is a reminder of the dangers most of us face on the road daily, and how anyone could easily be in Ben’s shoes. However, Ben has not let his limited mobility keep him from enjoying what life has to offer. A regular participant in adaptive sports, he is ready to take on a new challenge with the Dive Pirates: Scuba diving.
Ben joined the United States Marine Corps Reserves in March of 2010 and was stationed with an artillery battalion in Texas as a motor vehicle operator. His service was prematurely cut short by his injury and in September 2013 he was honorably discharged. Despite this tragic turn of events, Ben refused to let it slow him down. With the love and support of his family, he went back to school and got his degree. Within months of the accident, he was happily married. He currently works for Raytheon in McKinney, Texas as an engineer and designer.
Ben had always held an interest in scuba diving, but it wasn’t until word reached him of adaptive diving through the Dive Pirates Foundation that he gave the sport serious consideration. “Today he stays in shape through hand-cycling and enjoys participating in adaptive sports occasionally such as wheelchair rugby, adaptive rowing, and sled hockey. Scuba diving will be just another hurdle for him to clear effortlessly.”
Ben’s story is truly a celebration of life after injury. With the help of friends, family, faith, and determination, he exemplifies resilience. Taking on his underwater adventure with Mike Knapp of Blue Sea Adventures.