WIRK’s Tim Leary and Chelsea Taylor in West Palm Beach set out on a campaign to raise $5,000 in 5 Days for The Wounded Veterans Relief Fund. They wound up raising over $6,500 to help veterans in Florida and they got to swim with sharks in the process.
It started on air when Mike Durkee (Executive Director-Wounded Veterans Relief Fund) called the show, and invited Tim to join Purple Heart recipients in their annual 4th of July, Dive for Freedom…in open waters with sharks!
“I said no,” stated Leary. “Diving with sharks has never been on ANY list of mine…bucket list, to-do list, grocery list…” But Leary issued the challenge. If $5,000 was raised for Wounded Veterans Relief Fund in just 5 days, he would join the dive.
“We were so amazed by the overwhelming support from our listeners and the community for our veterans”, says Chelsea Taylor. “The donations poured in, and before we knew it, we had well passed our goal. With every donation, Tim’s face grew more and more pale, knowing that he was going to dive with live sharks in open water!”
At the time of the on-air announcement (7/2/21), the total was at $6,580. By the morning of July 4th, the total was just under $7,000.
And on the morning of July 4th, on their 6th annual Dive for Freedom, Tim Leary joined three boats of Purple Heart Recipient wounded veterans, (that also included Florida Congressman Brian Mast), and dove into open, shark infested waters. “It was the most adrenaline rushed feeling ever,” says Leary. “We dove into Silky sharks, Black Tips, Sandbars, and Bulls! There were 7-8 sharks swimming around you at once! To have a shark swim within inches of you, in the wild, is breathtaking and absolutely terrifying! But everyone had such an awesome time! I am truly honored to have been invited to spend the day and hang out with these incredible, inspiring heroes! It was an amazing experience! You guys mean the world to us!”