One of the feel-good moments of this year’s DEMA Show came Nov. 15 at the Bonnier Dive Group booth when the 2012 Oris and Scuba Diving Sea Hero of the Year was awarded to a true class act of the dive world, a pioneering cave diver and Women Divers Hall of Famer who has turned her energy to an everyday crusade: how to preserve our most precious resource, water.
Jill Heinerth, our September/October Sea Hero for her We Are Water documentary and advocacy project, was picked from among five finalists as the 2012 Sea Hero of the Year, earning a $5,000 cash prize from Oris, the Sea Heroes program sponsor, to further her work.
"This is so meaningful because 100 percent of this money is going to support the We Are Water project,” an emotional Heinerth said. “We are all heroes of the sea by doing what we do: getting in the water and taking kids into this environment and doing remarkable things to bring the next generation to love and protect our fresh water and our oceans. This will go a long way in helping us continue our work, and I'm incredibly grateful.”
V.J. Geronimo, Oris Watches USA CEO, was on hand for the presentation. "This is really one of my favorite days because I get to give a great award to great people,” he said. Oris, which has a long commitment to marine conservation, also presents each of the five annual Sea Heroes finalists with an Oris Diver's Date watch worth $1595.
Other 2012 Sea Heroes -- which include photographer Brian Skerry (July) and community activists Patricia Ramirez of Spash Dive Center in Belize (June) and Casey Sokolovic of Love a Sea Turtle (May) -- were on hand for the champagne celebration. “It's super humbling to be recognized by your peers as someone who is achieving good things in the scuba community,” said Shark Angels founder Julie Andersen, Scuba Diving’s August Sea Hero. “It's a great honor.”
Read about what each of our 2012 Sea Heroes has been up to since his or her selection here.
What is a Sea Hero?
The Sea Heroes Award is sponsored by Scuba Diving magazine and Oris Watches. Each Sea Hero featured in Scuba Diving receives an Oris Diver’s Date watch (worth $1,595). At the end of the year, a panel of judges selects one overall winner, who receives a $5,000 cash award from Oris to further his or her work. Nominate a Sea Hero here.