Who We Are
- Shelley Unser, Chair
- Cody Unser, Vice Chair
- Michele Monsam, Executive Assistant
- Bill Monsam, Executive Logistics Manager, Course Director, Instructor
- Casey Harthorn, Course Director, Instructor Staff
- Steve Gale, Instructor Staff
- Michele Monsam, WEB Master, Assistant Instructor
- David Crockett, President for Curricula
- Al Unser, Good Will Ambassador
Bill Monsam – HSA Course Director & PADI IDC Staff Instructor
In 2003, my wife dragged me to the scuba shop to take the PADI Open Water Course. I had several other hobbies and was certified by my Dad at age 9 in Connecticut (pre-PADI), dove until I joined the Air Force, so I wasn’t really interested in diving again. Shortly after finishing AOW and PPB, Michele took a work assignment in Ireland for 10 months. When we next saw each other I had finished my Dive Master and we were diving off the Connemara coast west of Galway. In 2005, I completed my IE and continued training and teaching, which I really enjoy. All of my other toys have long since been sold and all we do is scuba dive. I heard about Operation Deep Down through a friend and volunteered Michele to help facilitate our committee meetings. The rest is history.
Casey Harthorn - HSA Course Director & PADI MSDT Instructor
Casey Harthorn is originally from Holland Michigan. After 21 years of service in the United States Air Force where he specialized in electronics he retired and now resides in Las Cruces, New Mexico. During retirement, Casey pursued his second passion, wildlife, and earned a degree in Fish and Wildlife Science from Eastern New Mexico University. Casey was hired by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish as the State’s warm water fisheries biologist, a position he still holds. Casey soon realized the value of scuba to fisheries research and became open water certified in the spring of 2001. In March of 2007, he became a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor and currently holds the Master Scuba Diver Trainer rating. Casey is also certified to teach scuba through the Handicapped Scuba Association.
Steven D. Gale – HSA Instructor & PADI Instructor
In 1987 I certified as a NAUI open water diver through UNM, shortly after, moved to Las Cruces and in December of 1988, started working for what was then Potter Scuba Center. I cross certified to PADI in 1988 and in 1991, started my professional career in diving and received my Divemaster certification. I moved to Albuquerque in 1994 with my wife and in 2000, went to A-1 Scuba in Denver and completed the IDC class. In April of 2000 I passed the IE at Blue Hole in Santa Rosa New Mexico and was certified as an Instructor. I started working for The Scuba Co. as an Instructor, where I still teach today. In August of 2007 I was certified as an HSA Instructor with the help of the Cody Unser First Step Foundation.
Michele Monsam - HSA Assistant Instructor & PADI AI
In 2003, I completed my Open Water Course, with the intention of taking just one class, so I could convince my husband to go on vacations with me to tropical destinations. One class and we were hooked. We love the hobby, the sport, and the life style! We team teach classes and thoroughly enjoy all the students, making new friends, and being active members in the New Mexico dive community. After returning from a deployment for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007, my husband Bill told me about Operation Deep Down and that he had volunteered me to help coordinate their programs. Becoming more involved in our community has been a gift – I’ve met and worked with some incredible people, learned more about disabilities than I had ever known, and made some lifelong friends.
Jim Hay – PADI OW (HSA Dive Buddy In Progress)
My certification was March 28th 2009 with PADI, I have persued my H.S.A. certification and only need 11 more open dives to certify. I find scuba diving a challenging sport due to my being a para, however with the best instructors in the world anything can be done. My hope and drive in scuba diving is to become an Instructor some day and help people with disabilities enjoy the sport. My wife Jeri and son Donald have certified and now we enjoy each others company on dives that allow us to be on the same playing field as everone else and it’s a blast. Get active in the sport you will see what I mean.
Scott Marconi – HSA Dive Buddy & PADI AOW
My wife and I went to Maui for the first time in February 2005. While vacationing I decided to try scuba diving. When we returned home from Maui I immediately contacted our local scuba shop and signed up for OW certification class. Ever since that first class I have continued my dive education and certifications. Scuba is a great sport and the feeling of achievement you get by continuing your dive education keeps my interest both in and out of the water. Becoming certified as a HSA Dive Buddy opened up a whole new world of diving for me and to see the benefits it brings in both quality of life and general health and well-being is enough to keep me volunteering.
Chris Huckabee - HSA Dive Buddy & PADI OW
Currently, I work as a medical technician for the United States Air Force in Albuquerque, NM. I enjoy snowboarding, hiking, four wheeling, camping, scuba diving and pretty much anything involving the outdoors. I got hooked on scuba diving when I went to the Air Force Combat Dive Course in Panama City, FL in 2006. I am a relatively new Diver but I have had some pretty neat experiences and love playing in the water. I heard about the Cody Unser First Step Foundation through the VA Hospital and I just had to be part of a program that is focused on giving back to our disabled veterans.
Kelly Garvin - HSA Dive Buddy & NAUI/PADI Diver
Swim, swim swim…I knew I was destined to swim at age 5 when my parents dropped the six of us off at the local country club swim team. I went on to swim competitively until age 18, lifeguarded, taught all ages of swimming and coached. It wasn’t until after college that I took my first NAUI scuba course. I liked it so much, I took another one, then a third one and eventually became a NAUI Instructor with the Scuba Company for eight years before going inactive. When I got into the Albuquerque Fire Department, I later joined the Dive Team. When we heard about the Cody Unser Foundation Dive Buddy Program, many of us jumped at the opportunity to get certified. I look forward to working with others that have the same passion for the underwater world as I do.
Rainey Perez - HSA Dive Buddy & NAUI Diver
SCBA 101 was an elective class at a community college in Santa Ana, California, and I took that class in 1993 to fill up my schedule. I have never regretted it. I certified as a NAUI Open Water II (1993), Public Safety Diver (2006), and certified HSA Dive Buddy (2008).
As a Dive Buddy, I do not know of a better way to enjoy diving and at the same time share the experience with the visually and physically impaired individuals in my community. I am a 16 year veteran of the Albuquerque Fire Department and a Paramedic.
Yo hablo espanol y te puedo ayudar tener una experiencia maravillosa!
Justin Beckett - HSA Dive Buddy & PADI OW
Justin is a little shy, but we will post his Bio when he is ready.