Monday, January 30, 2012

Lina Checks Out the Sea Lion Habitat

Our little sea lion girl, Lina, recently began spending time out on the full sea lion habitat.  You can bet this curious youngster is investigating every corner, rock and dock.  Big boy Kilo is showing her around their home. 

Don't you wish we knew what they were saying to each other?

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Watch a story of Wounded Warriors visit to DRC now at Many thanks to Charles Evans Foundation for the experience

Monday, January 23, 2012

Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project

January 13th was a very special day indeed at Dolphin Research Center. The Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride visited DRC during their Florida Keys event and upwards of 30 soldiers enjoyed a complimentary Dolphin Encounter, made possible by the generous donation of the Charles Evans Foundation.

It wouldn't be possible to capture all of the smiles from that day, but here are a few photographs from the hundreds taken.

The soldiers and their support team receive a hero's welcome from DRC staff, volunteers and visitors!

The soldier was all smiles during the dorsal pull from A.J.  Jax tagged along to be part of the fun!

This group of soldiers were all smiles, interacting with Tanner and trainer Catherine Dunn (front) with assistance from Bette Zirkelbach (standing in back).

Who wouldn't love a kiss from Aleta?

DRC President & CEO Rita Irwin (right) and Director of Special Needs Joan Mehew proudly display the certificate presented to DRC from the Wounded Warrior Project

We're grateful to the Charles Evans Foundaton for providing this wonderful opportunity for some of our nation's heroes.  Thank you to Tilden's Dive Shop for loaning wetsuits to the soldiers, the Stuffed Pig, for the delicious lunch, Publix for utensils, paper goods and sodas, and the DRC volunteers for home-baked desserts.  We also appreciate Monroe County Mayor Dave Rice, Marathon Vice-Mayer Dick Ramsay, Marathon Councilman Mike Cinque and the numerous other local dignatiaries and visitors who came out to DRC on that day. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project at DRC!

Soldier Ride's visit to DRC in 2010 was a fun-filled experience for all as you can see from the smiles on the soldiers' faces when they interacted with DRC Co-Founder Mandy Rodriguez (center-red ballcap) and Jax!

On January 13th, Dolphin Research Center (DRC) will welcome a very special group of visitors when the Wounded Warrior Project Soldier Ride comes through the Florida Keys. This adaptive cycling event honors our military men and women as they courageously battle the physical and psychological damages of war. For the third year in a row, the cyclists and their support group will stop at DRC where upwards of 35 soldiers will enjoy a Dolphin Encounter free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the Charles Evans Foundation.
These soldiers are coping with life-altering injuries to body, mind and spirit, including single or double amputations, traumatic brain injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder. To watch them leave their cares behind on land for a joyful time swimming with dolphins inspires all who see the experience take place. For many of the participants, the dolphin swim further empowers them on their journey to restore their physical and emotional well-being.
The Charles Evans Day for the Wounded Warrior Project at Dolphin Research Center has become a true community event. The soldiers arrive to a heroes’ welcome from DRC staff, volunteers and visitors. Each is supplied with a wetsuit, loaned by Tilden’s Dive Shop, Marathon. After the Dolphin Encounter, they will enjoy a delicious lunch provided by the Stuffed Pig, Marathon. Publix Supermarket in Marathon has donated soda, paper goods and utensils. DRC’s volunteers bake desserts and help to serve the meal. The soldiers also receive a complimentary disk of photos from their swim.
DRC members, local residents and visitors to the Florida Keys who visit Dolphin Research Center on January 13th will be able to join in the heroes’ welcome line to greet the Soldier Ride participants. The group is expected to arrive between 12:00 and 12:30 p.m. Admission to the center is free for current members. Other visitors can become members with their donations when they get to DRC that day.
For many years, the organization has committed itself to supporting veterans and active duty personnel from all branches of the United States military. DRC Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Armando “Mandy” Rodriguez is himself a veteran who served in Vietnam in the U.S. Marine Corps. Throughout the year, DRC seeks to provide programs not only for the wounded warriors, but also caregivers of injured soldiers, family of active duty personnel, and families who have lost a loved one serving in the war.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Four years ago a real survivor joined our family. Happy anniversary, Jax!

Friday, January 6, 2012

They call her Gypsi...Gypsi... faster than lightning. This granddaughter of two original Flipper dolphins turned 5 years old today. Happy birthday, Gypsi!