TAMPA, Fla. — A restoration project shared by the NFL and The Florida Aquarium is giving a group of special operations veterans a new way to use their diving skills.
They are tasked with planting coral in the waters off Miami.
Angelo Fiore served in the Navy from 1986 to 1995. After that he went into the recreation business. Similar to many veterans, he missed the camaraderie of being on a mission.
That’s where “Force Blue” comes into play.
“Force Blue” is an organization that retrains and redeploys special operations veterans.
Fiore is part of that team and his latest mission, partnered with The Florida Aquarium, is to restore Florida’s coral reefs.
It didn’t take long for Fiore and the others to learn and appreciate the conservation efforts that the aquarium has helped with.
This includes being the first to induce spawning of Atlantic corals and the slow process of nourishing and raising them at a conservation center in Apollo Beach.
At the hands of divers who previously used their skills to recover wreckage, repair boats and even plant explosives, is now restored coral.
Fiore calls it mission therapy.
“Belonging to something that’s bigger then yourself, it restores hope,” he said.
The new coral was planted by divers last week.
The Florida Aquarium told Spectrum News they will continue monitoring its growth as more coral is planted.