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Volunteer of the Year

2011 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

Kevin receiving his 2011 Volunteer of the Year plaque from sanctuary manager GP SchmahlKevin Buch
University Dive Safety Officer
Galveston, TX

Kevin first volunteered as a science diver for the sanctuary back in 1997. He later worked as a contractor for the sanctuary for two years, followed by a three-year absence during which he worked in the Caribbean. Upon returning state-side, he resumed his volunteer activities with the sanctuary in 2005. 

Now he works with our science team to provide trained student science divers to assist with a variety of projects, including long-term monitoring of the coral reefs. He also provides annual training updates in CPR, First Aid, and O2 Administration for the sanctuary dive team and facilitates pool time for dive training exercises. 

Kevin dressed in his wetsuit, sitting on a dive bench, reviewing the dive plan on his clipboard
Kevin plans for his next dive on board the R/V Manta
during a 2010 Long-Term Monitoring trip.

Kevin is a great resource for the sanctuary in both dive skills/training and research experience. He has a clear understanding of the skills needed to safely accomplish research tasks underwater.  This makes him an excellent judge of other divers and their abilities to fit the sanctuary's needs for various research expeditions.

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Kevin is also an enthusiastic supporter of the sanctuary itself.  He values the uniqueness and beauty of these northern coral reefs and takes great interest in sharing his knowledge with others. 

Kevin sitting in the audience  at a presentation
Kevin looks on as the R/V Manta is dedicated in 2008.

Each year, he provides a 3-hour-long fish identification class for the sanctuary's Down Under, Out Yonder teacher workshop and serves as dive master and information resource for the trip that follows.  

He also organizes staffing for the first aid station at the annual NOAA Ocean Discovery Day and frequently helps staff the sanctuary exhibit at community events and trade shows. 

Kevin is always ready to lend a hand with both land-based and dive operations. When he is not available, he makes every effort to find others that might be able to help.

Kevin's contributions help the sanctuary system as a whole by expanding public awareness and contributing to the safety of our constituents and staff through his diving expertise.

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Female scuba diver, in a pink and black wet suit, holding a slate and pencil while working underwater.
   
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