Author: Abby Siemer
Wake for Warriors was founded in 2012 by David Deep, a veteran who served more than 28 years in active and reserve services for the US marines. He understood the importance of having a space to enjoy himself and heal after experiencing the hardships of serving in our armed forces. Kirby’s School of Wake got an exclusive interview with John Schmersal, who along with his wife, AnnMarie Schmersal and colleagues Rick Keeton and Adam Wensink run the northwest chapter of Wake for Warriors. Schmersal and his wife started Wakening Water Sports with a similar mission as David Deep, to give back to the community, specifically youth and those who’ve served with the goal of spreading love and the Lord’s mission. Wakening Water Sports focuses on ministry outreach, providing water sports instruction, and offering private lessons with the intent of strengthening family values.
Schmersal completed the School of Wake instructor course to be able to provide quality instruction to those participating in his program. When asked about the online course, he stated, “The course was fantastic. It teaches a lot of fundamentals not just for certified wake instructors, but for the parents out there- anybody that wants to give their kids a great experience while keeping it safe”. He went on to explain the course teaches boat safety and the right way to drive when pulling riders. “It’s about having a good eye,” Kirby adds on, “you don’t necessarily have to be a good wakeboarder to be a good instructor”. They go on to talk about the importance of challenging yourself and how veterans can get a lot of a program like this. By giving them a space to have fun and focus on self improvement, it can help them work through burdens they still carry from service.
When asked about why John and AnnMarie decided to start Wakening Water Sports Schmersal said, “my wife and I’s dream has always been to give back on the water” he went on to explain that wakeboarding had always caught their eye. As an accomplished wakeboarder, Schmersal expressed he first got into the sport for fun because of the rush it gave him as well as a way to stay in shape after leaving competitive sports in highschool and college behind. Because Kirby’s School of Wake and Wakening Water Sports share many of the same values like family and faith, it has led to a partnership built on mutual support. Wakening Water Sports is even going to help during an upcoming Kirby’s School of Wake event, Awakin, which is a three day camp that provides water sport instruction to over 30 participants. Wakening Watersports is based out of Ohio and if you’d like more information, you can find them on Facebook and Instagram
Happy Memorial Day from Kirby’s School of Wake and thank you to all our veterans.