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Wounded warriors go scuba diving thanks to Roselle Boy Scout

Aaron Celia, 17, of Roselle, hit a grand slam and wasn’t even on the ball field.

Instead, Aaron arranged for 40-50 wounded warriors to go scuba diving at Northeastern Illinois University pool on Sat., July 26. The event was Aaron’s Boy Scout Eagle project.

"I decided to do this Eagle Project because I wanted to give back to the men and women who served our country,” said Aaron, an incoming senior at Lake Park High School in Roselle.

An avid scuba diver, Aaron connected with Dan and Cindy Howard, owners of DJ’s Scuba Locker in Brookfield. From there, Aaron contacted the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, the Chicago-based Wounded Heroes Foundation, and Northeastern Illinois University.

The Wounded Heroes Fund flew 40 veterans into Chicago to participate in this unique event.

“On the day of the event, I coordinated 20 volunteers who helped the veterans with their scuba equipment as they entered and exited the pool,” said Aaron. “When the veterans were in the water, certified scuba divers were there to provide assistance.”

Dan Howard of DJ’s Scuba Locker was happy to participate in the day-long project. “It was an emotional day for both the veterans and the volunteers,” said Howard. “There were smiles on the faces of the veterans and volunteers. I would say Aaron hit a home run with his Eagle project.”

Aaron will submit a written report of his Eagle Scout project to the Boy Scouts of America Three Fires Council in St. Charles. Aaron hopes to join the five percent of the nation’s 2.6 million Boy Scouts who achieve the rank of Eagle. Both astronaut Neil Armstrong and former US President Gerald Ford were Eagle Scouts.