Ozzie Martinez founded Operation WetVet, a 501c3 nonprofit out of Miami, on June 1, 2015. Operation WetVet is dedicated to helping combat-disabled veterans suffering from PTSD and TBI (traumatic brain injury) create new memories in a safe, calming environment centered around camaraderie, fishing and other water activities.
Hook+Gaff Watch Company joined Operation WetVet on a fishing trip with multiple combat veterans, including some Purple Heart recipients. To read the whole story, check out the Operation WetVet Q&A blog post.
Corporal Chris Propst is a Purple Heart recipient that served in the US Marines from 2009-2012. Chris's main MOS was 0331 (Machine Gunner) Chris deployed to Afghanistan in 2011 with 3 Battalion 2nd Marines (3/2) where he was part of the sniper platoon. On May 15, 2011 Chris was wounded by a 86mm mortar that injured his left leg. Chris is now medically retired from the US Marines.
Steven Diaz, is a Marine who was severely injured by an IED in Iraq in 2005, has been left with numerous permanent scars to include Post Traumatic Stress, a seizure disorder, and Traumatic Brain Injury. Steven's military service earned him the Purple Heart and the Combat Action Ribbon. After losing more friends to the trauma of post-war life than by enemy action, he knew what his next mission in life would be. In 2010 Steven became one of the founding members of Hidden Wounds a 501c3 out of South Carolina. Steven serves as the Chief Operations Officer and oversees all areas of Hidden Wounds' daily operations to make sure the mission of providing veterans the help they deserve are met. Apart from his non-profit work Steven serves on various boards to help advocate for Veterans and to help the community better connect with them. Steven is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelors in business administration. Steven currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his lovely wife, Laura and newborn son Thomas.
On the water is one of the few places where Dallas Jones feels a sense of calm. A Purple Heart recipient, Dallas served two tours in Iraq throughout 2004 and 2005 with the 3rd Tracks Echo Company. In 2012, he was deployed with MWSS 273 to Afghanistan, where he was critically injured when his Humvee was hit by three mortar IEDs, blowing out both of his eardrums and sending shrapnel ripping into his face. This traumatic event also inflicted deep psychological scars that make it difficult for Dallas to be at ease. But Operation WetVet helps him find solace in the simple pleasures of the winds and the waves, and the thrill of reeling in fish. Dallas currently lives in Newport, North Carolina, and works as an aircraft rescue firefighter in Cherry Point, North Carolina.