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Wounded Warriors ‘Catch a Wave’ as Part of Recovery

August 22, 2018

This report originally published at defense.gov.

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Wounded warriors, veterans, and their loved ones attended the 12th Annual Operation Amped Surf Camp here, Aug. 17-19.

Operation Amped is a nonprofit organization that promotes surfing therapy once a year to aid in the recovery of wounded, ill and injured veterans and active-duty service members, said Operation Amped co-founder Joseph Gabunilas.

Gabunilas said the program helps participants achieve positive changes in their lives.

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‘Catching a Wave’ During Recovery

“It’s a good way to keep that negative stuff out of your mind, while catching a wave,” said retired Marine Corps Gunnery Sgt. David Simons, an Operation Amped participant. “Surfing has given me a goal, something to work toward and keep my focus straight.”

Ocean therapy “is good for the mind,” Simons added. “It’s good for those that have difficult issues they’re dealing with.”

For three days each year, with the support of organizations such as Operation Amped, participants move closer to recovery one wave at a time.

Volunteers and supporters donate surfboards, wetsuits, food, tents and tables. Most importantly, they donate their time.

Operation Amped, which began in September 2006, has helped thousands, said Gabunilas, who served in the Army.

“This is my way of giving back,” Gabunilas said. “I served 21 years, and this is another way I can give back to the brave men and women fighting for our country.”

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U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) reports are created independently of American Military News (AMN) and are distributed by AMN in accordance with applicable guidelines and copyright guidance. Use of DOD reports do not imply endorsement of AMN. AMN is a privately owned media company and has no affiliation with the DOD.