Lake Norman & Mooresville

Navy SEALS help veterans and have an island renamed

Retired Navy SEALs Rich Graham, lback left, Rusch, in front and Troy Pusateri, right, participate in the 2014 LKN Navy SEAL Swim.
Retired Navy SEALs Rich Graham, lback left, Rusch, in front and Troy Pusateri, right, participate in the 2014 LKN Navy SEAL Swim. COURTESY SEAL SWIM CHARITIES

The best part of Spring Fling, which will be held April 18 at LangTree Lake Norman, won’t be the exhibits from nurseries, landscapers, outdoor-specialty stores and outdoor-themed organizations.

Nor will it be the music, food, beverages or nature crafts.

The best part of the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists Spring Fling in Mooresville will be a dedication ceremony. LKN SEAL Swim charities, which holds the annual SEAL Swim, will rename a Lake Norman island, currently called Whale Island, as Navy SEAL Island, said Chris Durant, of the charity group.

Eventually, the group will hold a dedication ceremony on the island and a plant a Navy SEAL flag there.

The dedication is a result of the LKN SEAL Swim, created three years ago to raise awareness and funds to help veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Combat Related Stress.

Three former Navy SEALs – Rich Graham, Shannon Rusch and Troy Pusateri – swim 13.6 miles, beginning at McCray Creek access in Mooresville and ending at the Rusty Rudder in Cornelius with a huge party. The swim this year will be held July 24.

This year, swimming with the SEALs will be an Underwater Demolition Team, Vietnam veteran and an Army Ranger/Special Forces sniper veteran, according the LKN SEAL Swim website, lknsealswim.org.

According to the website, “Every day, approximately 22 former and active U.S. service personnel commit suicide as a result of the effects of PTSD and CRS.”

To counsel and help fellow veterans, former Special Operations veterans founded Operation Restored Warrior. Their five-day program, Drop Zone, lets veterans interact and have fellowship with other soldiers who understand the difficulties of balancing the inherent stress of combat with the re-acclimation to civilian life.

Ninety-five percent of the funds raised go to help these veterans. It costs about $2,000 to put a veteran through this program, and the service members are not charged.

Lisa Daidone is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Lisa? Email her at ldaidone@hotmail.com.

Learn more:

For information or to sponsor, go to lknsealswim.org. You can email Chris Durant at chris@SEALswimcharities.org or call 704-975-5301.

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