When it comes to changing lives and building brighter futures for our injured heroes who were engaged in the throes of war, Sea Hawk believes healing is necessary not only for mind and body, but also for spirit! So when retired Colonel of the U.S. Army Special Forces, Alan Krezeczowski, (Col K2), himself a Wounded Warrior, decided that returning vets deserved a sunny, emotional fix, he reached out to Sea Hawk to ask for help with a boat restoration project. Sea Hawk responded with an enthusiastic “YES”!
Sea Hawk products are being used to help restore the Miss Beverly, a 25-foot Crestliner pontoon boat that will be used for the recreational use of qualified paralyzed, disabled and wounded veterans, without charge. The usual cost of a pontoon boat rental is $100/day. Usage rules are being reviewed to expand the use to all disabled veterans to include veterans of all conflicts and the recently wounded warriors from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
When Col K2 found Sea Hawk products on You Tube, he didn’t know that right here in his back yard he would find local American heroes saying, “Yes, we can and will help!” “When I called Sea Hawk and talked to Kathy Hester about donating paint to help refurbish the boat, she didn’t flinch an inch,” he said. Sea Hawk immediately provided two 5-gallon containers of biodegradable paint remover that was needed to remove all the bottom paint from the pontoons. Sea Hawk’s Tuff Stuff™ premium blister protection, 1284 Epoxy Primer and AF33 Antifouling Paint was also applied to ensure many years of protection to the restored Miss Bev.
The history of Miss Bev, as she is affectionately called, is intriguing. In 2002, Anheuser-Busch donated $100,000 to the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), a veterans service organization chartered by Congress, which has for more than 55 years served the needs of its members, all of whom have catastrophic paralysis caused by spinal cord injury or disease. Ben Ritter of the Tampa PVA used the money to purchase the wheelchair-capable Miss Bev. She was named after Congressman Bill Young’s (R-Indian Shores, FL) wife Beverly, an adamant and staunch supporter of all veterans. Miss Bev was then donated by the PVA to the MacDill AFB Recreation Marina where she is available for cruising or fishing in Tampa Bay.
Miss Bev aids veterans with spinal cord injuries because she has the capability of securing three wheelchairs while her passengers cruise and fish. The Tampa MacDill Air Force Base manages and maintains the boat. There is no funding for Miss Bev; maintenance of the boat is being completed through the good will of local vendors who donate materials and labor to restore the look, safety and life of the boat.
“Sea Hawk really wanted to help,” exclaimed Col K2. “They didn’t expect anything in return, and I was so humbled,” he said. “When you come home from Afghanistan and remember that there are companies like Sea Hawk here in America, you realize that this is what people do in America. We help each other. This made me feel so good. Warriors from all over will soon be able to enjoy the emotional pleasure that comes from getting out of the hospital and onto the water. Because of supporters like Sea Hawk, coming home is all the sweeter, and it makes us reflect on why we left our homes and families and went into harm’s way,” he said.
Right now, there is a whole new category of disabled vets seemingly fine but suffering from traumatic brain injuries, depression and PTSD. “Once they are on the water, these veterans enter another world to enjoy for the moment, whether they are catching sharks or just relaxing in the cool bay breeze,” said Col K2. “And once they’re aboard, we can’t seem to get them off of the boat! We even had a vision-impaired wheelchair warrior who, after nine years, never thought he would drive again, but took the helm of Miss Bev and cruised in the bay. That is powerful medicine.”
Miss Bev is currently at Aqua-Dyne Boat, LLC, 10430 66th Street N in Clearwater. We invite everyone to come and see the work in action, benevolently donated by a group of caring individuals. If you’d like to catch a part of history in helping to restore Miss Bev, call Col “K2” 813-967-2822 to set a time so he can expect you.
Stay tuned for a progress update next month. Surprises abound!
Alan “K2” Krezeczowski
PVA Associate member cell: 813-967-2822