On January 2nd, 2014 one of Chicago’s very own, Saul Issac Macias, will be joining 3 other Veterans to be part of Operation Blue Pride. Operation Blue Pride is a non-profit organization whose mission is to bring together Veterans who have been injured in combat and are enduring physical challenges while at the same time empowering them to help save our oceans.
Macias carries a very impressive military career. He served in the United States Navy from 2006 to 2012 and completed 3 tours in both OIF and OEF. It was during one of those operations that he was injured and to this day still suffers from many physical challenges. This is where Operation Blue Pride stepped in. From January 2nd-8th, Macias will be part of an epic adventure. He’ll have a chance to dive and have some fun with lemon sharks, Caribbean reef sharks, nurse sharks, and possibly some tiger and hammerhead sharks. Needless to say, its a great way to start off the new year!
I had a chance to sit down with Issac before his trip to Florida and his enthusiasm was contagious!
Elizabeth Diaz: Why and when did you start diving?
Saul Issac Macias: I started diving when I was in the Navy but none of the dives were like this! Not with sharks.
Elizabeth Diaz: What did your friends and family think when you told them?
Saul Issac Macias: My family thinks I am crazy! Then again…they are not surprised. After the wars, they knew I was not the same person. Now they just want me to bring them souvenirs and pictures.
Elizabeth Diaz: How did you feel when you first heard of the possibility to dive with sharks?
Saul Issac Macias: I honestly don’t know what to think. My whole concept of sharks is ‘Jaws’ but according to professionals sharks are not violent species.
Elizabeth Diaz: Why do you think sharks are so misunderstood? Can you relate?
Saul Issac Macias: Sharks are totally misunderstood. Like any other living species they are scared. They are trying to survive, just like you and me. As a patriot that has been in the wars, we are trying to do the same. We’re trying to survive. They are scared of us just like we are off them.
Elizabeth Diaz: Lastly, what do you hope to gain from this experience?
Saul Issac Macias: I hope to learn more self awareness out of my comfort zone. I have mostly trained on land. The water is their battlefield. I must learn to master their habitat just as I have mastered mine.
To say that Issac is excited and ready to dive with sharks is an understatement. Issac was born ready and will surely gain a new perspective on marine life. Operation Blue Pride is a wonderful organization whose mission is to help transform our very own American Heroes, such as Issac, into ocean heroes. While this operation is different than others, its mission is clear: helping our Heroes realize their human potential, both physically and emotionally while creating awareness. We look forward to his safe return and can not wait to see, what will most likely be, amazing pictures.
Elizabeth Diaz – firstname.lastname@example.org