By Suzanne Bopp
Most people avoid danger as much as they can. But not Jim McWhirter, a scuba-diving fanatic and the Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Gemini in Oklahoma City.
McWhirter enjoys diving among wild sharks near the South Pacific island of Palau.
Back home, the danger within the murky lakes and rivers of landlocked Oklahoma is just as real. In fact people dive here mostly out of necessity, following an accident or a crime.
When two local law enforcement divers died while recovering a body, McWhirter, who holds 27 dive-instructor ratings, realized local police and firefighters needed additional training in black-water diving.
That training didn’t exist, so McWhirter began developing techniques for diving in adverse, low-visibility conditions to better assist local emergency crews.
On May 26, 2002, his work was tested when the Webber Falls Bridge collapsed, killing 14 people. McWhirter led successful recovery operations in the fast-moving river and later earned numerous awards for his work.
From there, he began training dive teams nationwide and founded the Emergency Response Dive Trainers of America.
“I know we’ve had an impact, so it’s very much worth the effort,” McWhirter says.