IAHD-Americas Hero's
Share their Stories...


Whack and Roll

 Divers can be a whacky bunch, so the Mennonite Heritage Center's 2nd Annual croquet tournament, Whack AND Roll, was a perfect venue for Indian Valley Scuba divers to show that whacky side and raise some cash for IAHD-Americas along the way. 

   Five teams represented IAHD-Americas and the ten stalwarts discovered that serious, competitive croquet really is really SERIOUS and COMPETITIVE! But we had a great time.  Our teams, with such creative names as "All Wet" (Ray Graff/Bob Loughran ), "Bottom Time" (Niki/Sylvia Lorinczy), "Coral C's" (Christine/Mark McElwee), "Something Wicket" (Barbara Beck/Tracey Meyers), and "The Cro-K's" (Katherine Dale/Katie Tyrpak) played consistently. The IAHD-Americas teams played 10 rounds and got WHACKED every time!  But we rolled with the punches. Perhaps we interpreted WHACK AND ROLL incorrectly?

To be truthful, some of us had never played before.  Some of us hadn't played since childhood.  We found out that there are some folks who must play croquet often and with passion.  What disguises itself as a garden-party diversion requires the cutthroat strategy of a pool shark and the putting skills of a pro golfer. Who would think that one would need referees standing by for such a genteel game? 


Whack and RollWe would like to thank our generous sponsors Maintenance Strategies Inc., King of Prussia; Conshohocken Italian Bakery; Justin Bean Accupuncture in Somers Point, NJ; Keystone Grille and Family Bistro, Eagleville, who rallied behind our teams with some big donations (totaling $840!) to help fund our adaptive scuba diving programs.  Univest Financial also sponsored each organization as well with a $500 gift! IAHD-Americas was out there sharing the love and spreading the word, and many of the other 20 groups and the hundreds of spectators are now a little more aware of the International Association For Handicapped Divers and the work we do.


Lauren's Story
Lauren ‘O’ in the land of the Manatees
Indian Valley Scuba & IAHD-Americas – perfect together!

2011 started off with a very, very special trip south to visit the manatees and explore the freshwater springs of North Central Florida. Why so special, you ask? We come here every year to play with the second largest mammals found in the ocean and root around in the underground caverns and caves that cover this region. I’ll tell you why this years trip is one of the most special ever – because we are celebrating Lauren Ostrowski’s checkout dives this weekend.

Hmmmm, you are thinking……it seems IVS is doing that just about every weekend of the year someplace! True, true, we do so love to dive and introduce others to this wonderful sport, but our student this weekend is extra special, and I think you’ll feel the same way as I share her story with our readers. [read the story]

Kit McElwee's Story

Some say diving is on everybody’s “bucket list”; it is one of those things people say they have always wanted to do but they just don’t get around to it. But, Kit McElwee is not like everybody. That’s why her amazing quest to dive caught the attention of NBC10 sports reporter, Jade McCarthy. Kit’s story was filmed for the Philadelphia channel 10 feature “Game Changers for the Dec. 8th 11pm broadcast.


“When I was at my lowest point…I decided to take up diving” said the 28 year old. [read the story]


Karen Swisher's Story
Born (as a diver) Again!  Hallelujah!

On June 13, 2006 my entire life came to sudden halt. While working as an emergency medical technician in eastern Pennsylvania, my partner and I were returning to our station from an ambulance transport when a drunk driver pulled into the path of our ambulance. We collided near the right front panel of the other vehicle and causing us deflect into a telephone pole head on. The impact with the telephone pole pinned me inside of the ambulance.


For several hours I was unconscious and awoke to find I was completely paralyzed from the neck down. This paralysis lasted for a few days. The doctors told me that there was a strong possibility that I might never be able to walk again. Fortunately for me, this was not the case and a couple of weeks later, I walked out of the hospital on my own free will. I had to use a walker and cane however, for several months. Thankfully today I am walking completely on my own, though a bit little slower than I used to. [read the story]