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Thanks R.C., you deserve it

Date Posted: 2001-08-03

As an avid member of the local SCUBA community here in Okinawa, I was moved by our friend John Chandler’s recent article in the July 27th edition of Japan Update. John pointed out exactly what many people on this SCUBA paradise already know…diving is very safe here. John’s work in your publication graces the community weekly. I was very pleased to see John’s selfless and warranted article praising the efforts of R.C. Smith. I have only known R.C. for about a year, but I must echo John Chandler’s sentiments regarding this man.

R.C., perhaps the foremost advocate of diving safety on the island, approached me very early this year about employing a safety program for the island’s dive community. I was captivated and duly impressed by the cast of colleagues he brought together for this endeavor. He was able to go behind the scenes and corral AFN, John Chandler, Rich Ruth and several other local SCUBA figures, and bring them together for a series of meetings. We were all introduced and we began brainstorming on the variety of ways we could provide the island with SCUBA safety issues.

Shortly after a series of these meetings, we held our regular SCUBA safety class at the 18th Physiological Training Flight at Kadena Air Base. R.C. sponsored this class, and AFN was on site to provide necessary publicity for this vital community service program. The group efforts, and especially those of R.C., were spread throughout the entire Pacific region from Alaska to Korea. This may seem insignificant, but when you stop and think about it, many people, from all over this unique, geographically separated region, come to Okinawa annually to earn their SCUBA certifications. This is a truly magnificent effort and our community owes a lot to R.C. for having the vision to bring several key players together for this program. In fact, he recently sponsored another of our SCUBA safety classes as the peak of summer SCUBA season is upon us.

As the months of summer, and the subsequent SCUBA season, have pressed forward, R.C. refuses to rest on his laurels. Just last week a young diver was at Maeda Point walking around during his surface interval. The young diver, a personal friend of mine, stated to me that as he was walking, a stranger approached him to ask about his diving experience that day. The young man told the stranger that the diving was awesome and the weather forecast provided by the www.h2okinawa.com web site was accurate for Maeda conditions. The stranger revealed himself to the young man as R.C. Smith, the webmaster and owner of that particular site. The diver was amazed that R.C. was there, unassuming, and wheeling his “trademark” roller-ice chest full of cool water for divers to prevent the stresses of dehydration before and in between their dives. This was no stranger after all.

You see, it is very simple…The only strangers in life are the people we have yet to meet. Many of us have met R.C. and we do not even realize it. He has touched our community and literally thousands of divers at all levels. He does this with little regard to accolades or attentions directed his way. In fact, he would rather stay behind the scenes entirely. As a testament to his community loyalty and prognostication prowess, he has roughly a 93% accuracy rate for his dive site predictions. This alone imparts confidence to the divers as they plan for their assaults on the deep blue. Because of this service, he prevents uncountable mishaps in SCUBA due to otherwise unforeseen current shifts, winds, tides, and other intangible factors in diving. The confidence he has provided to our community is invaluable. It is truly a gift and he uses that gift well.

In the Holy Bible, the book of Romans, Chapter 12: 6-8, states that we all have different gifts according to the grace given to us. Read that reference and consider it in your own life and the lives of those whom you have had the opportunity to touch. Specifically, it says that we should use those gifts according to what we have been blessed with. There are many who possess gifts and keep them wrapped up. They do not open them to share with others. If you have ever received a gift on a special occasion, you know it is much more enjoyable to open that gift and share it with everyone in attendance rather than keep that gift to yourself.

R.C., thank you for sharing your gifts. We appreciate the opportunity to enjoy them with you!

Jim Allen, Captain, USAF, PA-C
Aerospace Physiologist
18th Physiological Training Flight
Kadena Air Base

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