For the past four years, Harley Draven has been working with the US Army Corps of Engineers' local water safety program. The program takes the message of water safety through presentations to elementary and high school students as well as the county fair and campground/campfire programs.
Ms. Draven joined the program as a volunteer shortly after a diving accident that left her a quadriplegic, at the age of 18. She decided to join the program to help others avoid dangerous accidents like the one she suffered. Ms. Draven goes out to speak to students annually during the three months in which the water safety program is in session. Last year, forty-three presentations were given. In addition, Ms. Draven also gave several presentations on her own without assistance from the Army Corps. Each year she also speaks at the annual week-long safety fair and gives presentations at various rehabilitation programs throughout the Common Cove area.
According to Phillip S. Deffenbaugh, Park Manager for the US Corps of Engineers, “When Harley gets up there to speak, the whole program changes. It brings reality home." Since Ms. Draven joined the program, Mr. Deffenbaugh has noticed a drop in water safety accidents in the Peila and Kings County area. Mr. Deffenbagh could not say if Ms. Draven's efforts were the sole reason for the drop, but he is sure that she has made an impact on the students. "They don't ever think that anything could happen to them, but after they talk with Harley, they realize that it can."
Ms. Draven does not receive any compensation for her work. She receives financial assistance from her parents and the government for her disability.