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Dive 911 Sponsorship for Warrior Memorial Reefs Leads to First Public Safety Diver Artificial Reef

Dive 911 Sponsorship for Warrior Memorial Reefs Leads to First Public Safety Diver Artificial Reef

Panama City Beach, FL (July 4, 2024)- When CWO Joseph Theodorou, President of the Warrior Memorial Reefs Foundation, answered a phone call a few months ago, he sure didn’t expect to get his foundation’s first key sponsor for a Public Safety/ First Responder artificial reef memorial. “Halfway through the call, I realized that I’m speaking with this awesome guy who is just trying to memorialize his buddies. He is very passionate and totally invested in paying tribute to the PSDiver community.”

It turns out that the other guy on the phone was Buck Buchanan, the Owner of Dive 911, a Public Safety Dive company that extensively trains First Responder Divers, PSD Monthly and North East Public Safety Diving.  “Many of our divers are Veterans and former First Responders.  It is a dangerous job.  People die in this business, and I just want a place to memorialize them.  I didn’t want to reinvent the wheel.  The Warrior Memorial Reefs Foundation does what I want to accomplish for these PSDivers.”

This is a very special project, for Mr. Buchanan, as well as the Warrior Memorial Reefs Foundation, as it will be the inaugural First Responder project. This memorial will also be the final resting place for Buck’s good friend, public safety diving legend, Mark Phillips (1957-2023). Buchanan requested that Mark Phillips be “dropped” or “deployed” first, as well as three other PSDivers within the community.

Mark Philips had been a career firefighter and retired public safety diver for over 35 years.  He had been the editor of PSDiver Magazine, a free online magazine dedicated to public safety diving. Mark was involved in. and had taught and developed PSD specific workshops to improve the skills and safety of public safety divers in the United States. Mark Phillips was also an SDI Open Water Diving Instructor with over 20 professional specialties. Some of them were Computer Diver Instructor, Search & Recovery, Full Face Mask, Dry Suit Diving, Oxygen Administration, Blood Borne Pathogens and Adult and Child Emergency Care Instructor.  He had also been an Instructor for the most prestigious diving certification agencies such as PADI, IDEA, PSDA and IAPSD.

Dive 911 will be donating essential equipment needed for the Public Safety/ First Responder Artificial Reef Memorial, along with bronze plaques and helping with necessary fundraising.  Buck Buchanan and Joe Theodorou both agree, “It is important that there is zero cost to the families for this artificial reef burial”, which is the ultimate goal for all Veteran, First Responder, and K-9 artificial reefs that the Warrior Memorial Reefs Foundation deploys.

The Public Safety/ First Responder Artificial Reef will be placed in the beautiful, emerald waters off the coast of Panama City Beach, Florida. The official deployment of Mark Phillip’s reef will take place on July 4, 2025, to mark and celebrate the 2 year anniversary of the day that he “left surface” (death). Buck told Joe, “It is important that we launch Mark on July 4th. I really want to celebrate two years from the day he died. He was just the most amazing guy, and infamous in our community.”

“We have a year to make this happen, and we can’t be more excited about creating this beautiful project’, stated Mr. Theodorou. “ This will be THE first, First Responder Memorial to be deployed in the Gulf. It is very near and dear to Buck, and we are happy that we are able to help him bring his dream to full fruition.

If you would like to contribute to the Public Safety/ First Responder’s Memorial, or any of the other memorials that Warrior Memorial Reefs Foundation are deploying for Veterans, First Responders, and K-9 Service Dogs, please visit their website to donate, sponsor or volunteer.  You may also help by visiting AND sharing their social media accounts on Facebook and Instagram.