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The incredible story of how three severely wounded, combat veterans are fighting to save sharks, the oceans, and ourselves.
159 backers pledged $46,191 to help bring this project to life.

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$46,191

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This film will tell the incredibly moving story of how three severely wounded, combat veterans are now fighting to save our oceans and sharks, and in doing so, are saving themselves.   

Operation: Blue Pride - Summary

With your generous support, we will produce a film that tells the true story about three severely wounded, combat veterans who embark on a meaningful mission beneath the sea. Scuba diving, they discover sharks, freedom, and a new purpose: protecting our oceans. Sir Richard Branson, member of the Ocean Elders, joined them, along with a 14-foot tiger shark by the name of Emma.

We believe the profound discoveries made by these American heroes during the expedition will bring hope and help to other wounded veterans. Their message will also help protect sharks, our oceans, and ourselves.

Sgt. Chris Maddeford explains it like this:

"The reason that I've done 150 dives in the last four months is because it's the first and only time since 2003, when I was blown up, that I haven't been in any pain at all, without medication. I am not diving because it's fun, I'm diving to escape the pain in my life..."

Chris and our other military heroes have felt the healing power of the ocean firsthand. This is inspiring them to do whatever they can to protect this precious resource for future generations. And no one knows better how to serve and protect than our nation’s brave veterans. "The oceans are helping to heal the wounds of war, physically and mentally, in a way that has never been done before,” stated Chris. “We have gone from a state of hopelessness to having a mission we believe in."


With your support, the Operation: Blue Pride Team will create a film to inspire millions, enrich the lives of severely wounded veterans, and help save our oceans.


Money raised will allow us to:

-Produce the film (additional footage, editing, and music)

-Manufacture DVDs, market and distribute the final product

-Enter film festivals 

The Mission: Background 

Our oceans are in serious trouble. The latest studies show that 100 Million sharks are killed each year, reefs are disappearing, and overfishing is severely depleting fish stocks worldwide.

 Our ocean’s well-being impacts everyone on the planet–we are all connected. The ocean serves as our “life support system.” 

While our oceans face difficulties, severely wounded combat veterans also face significant challenges when they return home. A staggering number of these heroes will take their own lives (in 2012 suicides outnumbered war deaths). Our veterans often face a brutal day-to-day existence. 

The Beginning 

Ocean conservationists Jim Abernethy, Sue Chen, George C. Schellenger, and Shawn Heinrichs came up with a plan to take a group of severely wounded, combat veterans to the Bahamas in order to introduce them to the sharks of Tiger Beach, and a new mission: To help save the ocean. Three remarkable veterans signed up: Sgt. Chris Maddeford, Captain Marlene Krpata, and Sgt. Stephen Jackel. Now award-winning story-teller Jennifer Nolan has joined the team as well to reach the largest audience possible.

Operation Blue Pride Team
Operation Blue Pride Team

The Adventure

Operation: Blue Pride Team with Emma and Sir Richard Branson
Operation: Blue Pride Team with Emma and Sir Richard Branson

Thanks to generous support from NOVA Medical Equipment, founded by Sue Chen, Operation: Blue Pride Team launched their first OBP expedition in October, 2012. It was a week filled with tears, laughter, and joy. The week was also filled with majestic tiger sharks—including the resident celebrity shark: Emma (a 14-foot tiger shark). Emma is the only tiger shark with her own Facebook page, Twitter account, and website. She is quickly becoming the world's most photographed wild animal. Even the legendary Sir Richard Branson joined the expedition to dive with Emma, dozens of other sharks, and our American heroes. 

Risks and challenges

We believe the riskiest part of the Operation was undertaken by NOVA Medical Equipment and Sue Chen. We've already completed digital filming and photography for the mission at Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, now we just need to raise funds to produce the highest quality film and tell the world.

We hope you will help us get the word out. Thank you for telling your friends, family, and veterans you know about this time sensitive mission. We are eager to help create a worldwide army of people who want to save the oceans. Onward.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    You'll be honored on the Operation: Blue Pride website with your name listed as one of our core supporters.

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    Operation: Blue Pride Digital Download Package --

    You'll be honored on the Operation: Blue Pride website with your name listed as one of our core supporters and you'll receive a limited edition high-resolution image from the trip to download.

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    Pledge $15 or more About $15

    Thank You Credit in Film Package --

    You'll be honored on the Operation: Blue Pride website with your name listed as one of our core supporters and you'll receive a limited edition high-resolution image of a shark from the trip to download. PLUS: a credit in the film.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    All of the above, PLUS: A digital download of the film!

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    Pledge $30 or more About $30

    All of the above, PLUS: DVD of the film

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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    All of the above PLUS: Short Sleeved T-Shirt

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $50 or more About $50

    Your generosity earns you the rank of Corporal! All of the above, PLUS: Blu-Ray version of the film (and the DVD to give to a friend!).

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Wow! You've really stepped up to help us complete this project - so we'd like to make you a Sergeant - You'll receive all of the above, PLUS: Long sleeve (along with the short sleeve) OBP t-shirt.

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $100 or more About $100

    Thank you, thank you. Your generous support earns you the rank of Staff Sergeant - you'll receive all of the above, PLUS: 8x10 aluminum print of Emma the Tiger Shark, our only ocean ambassador fighting for veterans.

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    Your reward is the Sergeant First Class -- you'll receive all of the above, PLUS: Limited edition Emma case for your device (iPhone or Galaxy only) (or) signed crew movie poster. Your name or organization listed on the Bronze Level page of the Operation Blue Pride Website.

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge $300 or more About $300

    Now you're really making our Heroes proud! You're a Sergeant Major -- and you've earned all of the above, PLUS: A limited edition and signed photo book detailing the making of the film with behind the scenes photographs, portraits, and stunning images of the locations we visited. Your name or organization listed on the Silver Level page of the Operation Blue Pride Website (minus the Bronze Level listing).

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    Thank You Captain! -- All of the above, Plus: a 16x20 limited edition image (your choice from an incredible selection) of an original Jim Abernethy extraordinary underwater image. Your name or organization listed on the Gold Level page of the Operation Blue Pride Website (minus the Silver Level listing).

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Major's Level. Thank you Major. We'd like to meet you! All of the above, Plus: a dive in West Palm Beach with Jim Abernethy and George Schellenger (you'll need to be a certified SCUBA diver) (or) dinner with members of the crew at one of the film's premieres. *Travel and hotel accommodations not included. Your name or organization on the Platinum Level page of the Operation Blue Pride Website (minus the Gold Level listing).

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    You now become one of a few select Generals -- Thank you! All of the above excluding the Major and Coronel levels. PLUS: Associate Producer credit in the main titles, an invitation to the premiere*, and a meeting with the crew. *Travel and accommodations not included.

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    Pledge $10,000 About $10,000

    For your generous support, you've earned the exclusive rank of a Five-Star General - Wow. We are looking forward to meeting you. You'll get everything except the listings in the Coronel and General levels (You'll just need to be a diver if you choose the dive option at the Major's level). PLUS: Executive Producer credit in the main titles of the film, Your name or organization on the home page of the Operation Blue Pride Website. *Travel and accommodations not included.

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Funding period

- (30 days)