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Santa Cruz Surfing Program Connects Troubled Veterans, Saves Lives

SANTA CRUZ (KCBS)— For 33 disabled U.S. and British veterans, the surf's up in Santa Cruz. The wounded warriors are getting surf lessons as part of a program—Operation Surf, put on by Amazing Surf Adventures. The program connects the vets with others like themselves, going through the same issues of being amputees and suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

Former Marine, Bobby Lane, calls it a life-saving event for him and is making his fifth trip to the program. Before the program, Lane said the biggest thing on his "bucket list" was to commit suicide.

"All the surfing and stuff really saved my life and changed my life. It was the closest thing I can get to God. It's just this overwhelming sense of peace that came over me with that first wave. After that first wave, I realized my life isn't mine to take. I needed to dedicate the rest of my life to serving other veterans." Lane said. "I think it's really important to not only share it with veterans, but also with the public."

Operation_Surf_ASA by Kellen Keene on Vimeo

<p><a href="">Operation_Surf_ASA</a> from <a href="">Kellen Keene</a> on <a href="">Vimeo</a>.</p>

Martin Pollock served in the British Army. He battled in Afghanistan and became an amputee after enduring a blast that took both his legs and a left arm. He described being a part of the program as a "rebirth" and that it gave his life new meaning.

"I got to come out and got to surf a couple of years ago. It changed my life and [my] situation. So I keep bringing myself back help to the guys; give the same sort of thing back to the other guys coming out," he said.

Operation Surf Santa Cruz' Director Brent Edwards said the event allows vets to overcome challenges.

"The evidence of the healing is incredibly tangible. We have guys coming back. Everyone wants to come back. It changes their lives. Saves their lives." he said.



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