Ring out 2015, bring in 2016

Greetings all and Happy New Year.  2015 turned out to be a year of challenges and great accomplishments.

Our mission expanded in both numbers served and programs offered in 2015.  MBV served thousands of veterans through the fishing programs, SCUBA training, Northern tour and growing Physically Challenged Access program.  In addition to the above, dedicated volunteers addressed and completed over one hundred projects on the custom dive boat “Freedom”, with it’s one of a kind Lift to Freedom “L2F” dive platform, bringing this one of a kind project to operational status. These very successes created challenges in organization and resources.

Milestones were also established with the expansion of our partnerships and cooperative efforts with other organizations dedicated to serving those to whom we owe so much.

None of this would be possible without our dedicated corps of volunteers, members, donors and sponsors.  Thanks to you all and to the officers and 2015 board of directors for your dedication, leadership and contributions.

We experienced both joy and loss in 2015.  The first with the marriage of our favorite Army Airborne Veteran Jeanne Paynter, nee Obrien, to now husband Chris on board the Independence to start the New Year, and the latter with the loss of longtime volunteer, Board member and “Independence” Boat Director Tom Paltz.  We said good bye to Tom with full military honors and spreading of his ashes from the deck of the Independence onto the Monterey Bay; the place where he was most happy. He is missed.

2016 is promising even more. I am happy to announce the 2016 Board of Directors and several new Operational Director positions.

Introducing the 2016 Board of Directors: Bill Reisig, C.J. Von Drehle, Pat McCoy, Kimberly Stuhler, Anthony Russo, James Bogan, and two new Directors for 2016 Jeanne Paynter, John Knight

In addition to the existing Operational Directors; John Whitacre (Executive Director), Kirk Johnson (Veterans Relations), Diane Whitacre (Membership), Bill Reisig (Freedom Boat Director and Freedom Dive Program) and Gary Crawford (Volunteers), a couple of new key Operational Director positions are now filled:

Director, Northern California Operations:  Michael Steinbaugh

Director, Information Systems:  John Knight

This team will be leading Monterey Bay Veterans through an exciting 2016, which will include the rechristening and dedication of the vessel “Freedom”.

Be sure to check the calendar for upcoming events and volunteer opportunities  (The A.T.T. Pro-Am is just around the corner).  Plan early and make your travel and lodging arrangements for the Derbies and SCUBA classes.

In order to fulfill our objectives for the year we are counting on being able to expand our volunteer roles and filling several remaining Operational Director positions.  If you have time to dedicate to the mission of service to our disabled veterans, especially if you have boating and/or project management experience, please contact us to discuss the opportunities available.

As always, all members and guests are welcome at our board meetings, which are held on the last Tuesday of each month at the Monterey Youth Center at 5:00 pm.  We hope to see you there.

Here’s to another banner year in 2016.

Heart felt thank you

We at Monterey Bay Veterans, and especially the Freedom team, have truly been blessed by the level of support we receive from the business community.

The Freedom dive boat project, conceived and constructed to provide  SCUBA diving accommodation and safety to our disabled veteran community would not have been possible without the generosity of the business community.

The three most recent contributors are Monterey Bay Marine, Pernsteiner & Sons Fabrication and Process Stainless Lab.

Thank you Dave Babica of Monterey Bay Marine for your help in acquiring affordable outboard solutions for our dive safety boat aboard Freedom and utility and safety boat on Independence.

Another crucial system, to ensure safe anchoring  operations, was provided by the combined effort of Perry Settlemoir at  Pernsteiner & Sons for building the complex stainless reinforcement  system for Freedom and David Diller and David Hays of Process Stainless Lab for plating/polishing services, which turned a crucial  operations necessity into an aesthetic show piece.

It is truly inspiring to see the level of support and commitment the business community has for our disabled veterans.    On behalf of Monterey Bay Veterans Executive Board, its membership, volunteers and especially the disabled veteran community.  Thank you!!



Next SCUBA class dates set

Monterey Bay Veterans and Degnan Divers are pleased to announce the schedule for the next SCUBA training classes.

The mission of this program is to provide access to specialized dive instruction and recreational ocean diving for all veterans and military, who would be uncomfortable with or have a low probability of success in a traditional diving class.  Discussions are underway on possible expansion of program efforts.   New information will be posted on this site as available.

Classroom and pool sessions will be held on September 6, 13, 27 and October 4.  A minimum of two ocean dive sessions are scheduled for October 18 and 25, weather and seas permitting.   The specialized dive vessel Freedom equipped with its one of a kind submersible dive platform “Lift to Freedom”, will be available for the ocean dives as needed.

See Freedom Dive Program tabs on this site for additional information and required forms.

Feel free to contact Bill Reisig, Monterey Bay Veterans President (831-423-7728, or Frank Degnan, Degnan Divers 831-277-1705 for further information or with questions.


ABBA Industries to the rescue

Monterey Bay Veterens extends our sincere thanks to ABBA Industries,Inc/RC Plath, Co.

History; We thought we were up against a big problem when our specialty  dive boat for physically challenged  veterans, “Freedom”, suffered the loss of major components of the anchoring system.  To make a long story short, after searching for information on the identity of our system, we approached ABBA Industries with our problem.  Without a moments hesitation, ABBA wrote back to us that they could in fact replace  the failed parts,  but added that they would be honored to provide them and some additional services at no cost.

As a non-profit, this kind of support is a tremendous help to us in maintaining  our rehabilitation programs at no cost to our disable veterans.  We thank and salute ABBA Industries for the support they have provided to those who served and sacrificed for us.


2015 Wheelchair salmon derby is in the books

For the past three weeks over 300 disabled veterans from all around the state sought salmon in the waters off the Central Coast in the 28th annual Monterey Bay Veterans – Wheelchair Salmon Derby.  Thanks to many local captains and support from the Coastside Fishing Club the search for this year’s winning fish covered fishing grounds from Monterey all the way to Half Moon Bay

The derby culminated with Derby Week End.  Festivities began Friday night with a welcoming dinner hosted by the Marina American Legion, followed by Saturday’s main event with hundreds of hopeful  veterans, along with Miss California Rodeo, Jynel Gularte, boarding three party boats and dozens of private vessels to brave the less than ideal conditions for their shot at the title. Saturday’s awards banquet at the Seaside American Legion Hall marked the finale of Monterey Bay Veterans’ 2015 wheelchair salmon derby.  In the end James De la Pena of Hollister took the top prize with a cleaned fish weight of 17  pounds 9 ounces.

There are just too many people and organizations to thank in this small space, but all should know that Monterey Bay Veterans cherishes our sponsors and volunteers and we extend our sincere thanks for your support in helping make this event an annual success story.  We must give special recognition to The Department of California, D.A.V., whose sponsorship makes our annual derbies possible.

Still time to enroll in Spring SCUBA training

There is still time to enroll in the Freedom Dive program Spring Session.  Details are below and the necessary forms can be located in the Freedom Dive Program portion of this web site.

You simply need to inform  us at: wcreisig@comcast.net or call 831-423-7728 to let us know of your intentions.  You will need to bring hard copies of the three forms with you with the student record and liability release filled out.  The medical release doesn’t need completion until the ocean dive portion of the class.

Freedom Dive Program

A collaborative offering of Monterey Bay Veterans and Degnan Divers

Mission: To provide access to specialized dive instruction and recreational ocean diving for all veterans and military, who would be uncomfortable with or have a low probability of success in a traditional diving class due to disability.

Target Population:

  1. Veterans with special needs of any type including physical, emotional or cognitive.
  2. Family members or care givers interested in SCUBA in order to assist in the veteran’s success.


  1. Provide SCUBA training and certification at little or no cost to the veterans beyond their travel and accommodations. This is accomplished by utilizing services, facilities and other physical assets provided by Monterey Bay Veterans and Degnan Divers.
  2. Provide a safe and accommodating learning and activities environment for the special needs dive student.
  • The academic content of the course will be covered in traditional lecture/discussion, online or a combination of both.
  • The pool environment at CSUMB emphasizes one on one instruction and provides the students with the ability to learn at their own pace.
  • On the water safety and comfort is provided in Monterey Bay by using MBV’s specially modified 60 foot dive boat, the “Freedom”. Visit MBV.org to learn more about this one of a kind dive vessel and the Lift to Freedom (L2F) submersible dive platform.
  • The opportunity is available to participate in regularly scheduled “pool only” SCUBA activities for those not interested in certification or ocean diving.


  1. The seven week training will be one day a week (Sunday) for four to five hours.
  2. The next class is scheduled to begin March 29, 2015 from 8:00 to 12:00 at the California State Unitversity, Monterey Bay Aquatic Center
  3. Bring hard copy of the liability release, student record and medical release found in the Freedom Dive Program section of this web site.  Bring a swimsuit and towel and these forms even if not completed.

Questions may be directed to Bill Reisig at 831-423-7728 or Frank Degnan at 831-277-1705.


29th Annual Wheelchair Salmon Derby

Monterey Bay Veterans is pleased to announce the 29th annual wheelchair salmon derby.  The derby will be held on Saturday April 25th, 2015.   Vessels will depart from Monterey harbor.

The event will kick off Friday evening with the traditional welcome banquet and will conclude with the awards banquet on Saturday afternoon after the derby.

Registration forms for fishermen and volunteers are located in this site’s programs section for salmon derby.  Those with scheduling issues may fish during the month of April prior to derby day.  Contact event coordinator, John Whitacre, for more information. 831-901-0217.

“Independence” Open House on December 7

The public is invited on board the Monterey Bay Veterans (MBV) vessel “Independence”, on Sunday December 7, from noon to 4:00 pm.  This 49 foot DeFevre  is a beautiful boat, which incorporates many modifications and additions to accommodate special needs.  Come aboard, enjoy the harbor views, have  some refreshments,  take a tour and learn more about this boat, and the other MBV boats and programs.

Entrance is at the Tier “A” gate on Monterey harbor’s wharf 2, (the commercial wharf).  The gate is on the left just past the Sandbar restaurant.


Two from MBV board named as 2014 Veterans of the Year

Monterey Bay Veterans (MBV) is proud to announce that two long time volunteers and current members of the MBV Executive Board  have been named Veterans of the Year by the Monterey County Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory Commission.

Anthony Russo and Tom Palz received their recognition November 1, at the 23rd Annual Veteran of the Year Awards Banquet at the Salinas Elks Lodge.   We are truly fortunate to have Anthony and Tom in our ranks and congratulate them on this well deserved recognition.

Anthony and Tom join seven previous Monterey Bay Veterans Officers and Directors who received this honor in previous years.

Monterey Bay Veterans launches volunteer drive

Monterey Bay Veterans (MBV) is an all volunteer organization.  This allows us to invest 88% of every dollar earned or donated into programs directly benefiting our disabled veterans and wounded troops.

What is the profile of the perfect MBV volunteer.  That is easy to answer.  He or she is young or old, a veteran or never served, a skilled professional or learning on the job, serves a few hours a day or a few hours a year.  In other words…… YOU.

We are expanding in both number of veterans served and our program offerings. This requires that we grow our volunteer resources to meet those needs.  If you enjoy marine, or other outdoor activities, we invite you to visit the “programs” section on this web site to see what we are all about, then go to the “join us” section to see how you can be a part of something very special and have a great time in the process.  We need people from all skill levels to build our ranks and at this moment have a special need for someone with program and/or project management experience.  Join us and and help to serve those who served and sacrificed for us all.