Monday, March 12, 2012


Saturday we were invited down to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to visit an old friend that Bill and I went to High School with. We hadn't talked to him since then and thanks to Facebook, we were able to connect with him once again. We arrived before the crowds did because we were going to have a "behind the scenes tour" with Marvin doing what he has been doing as a volunteer at the Aquarium for the last 10 years.

 Marvin is a paraplegic. He lost the use of his legs in a motorcycle accident just a few blocks from his home. He has been volunteering as a diver at the Aquarium, where he helps to clean the tanks twice a month. He cannot do this alone. He is required to have two other divers in the tank with him while he is there. In this photo you can see the lift that was put in place to help him get his gear into the tank.  You can see him operating it here.

When Marvin was finished cleaning the tanks, we met him for lunch, along with his companion guide dog Yara and his wife Connie. It was the most incredible day and not only because of the wonderful visit to the Aquarium but mostly because we got to meet up with an old friend and talk about old times. It was as if only a few months had passed yet it  had been years.!

Marvin, his wife Connie, and Yara, his guide dog, are well-known at the Aquarium. All three of them wear volunteer badges and Yara picks up pieces of paper that he sees on the floor and hands them to Marvin. He is a helper in more ways that one. Thank you Marvin, Connie, and Yara for all that you do for the community that you live in. Thank you for not allowing any obstacles to hold you back from what you love. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see what you do behind the scenes, where most people would not even be aware that you have a disability. Thank you for being an advocate for others who have disabilities too. Without your awareness, fortitude, and advocacy, things might not be at the level that they are now. We look forward to keeping in better touch now that we have found you again.  Facebook does have some advantages!!

According to Wikipedia, it is said that the word "Torah" is derived from "Yara" which then came to mean "to lead" or "guide". It can also mean "to teach". Marvin said to me that Yara is traditionally a female name but in this case the name was picked because it can also mean "guide" or "lead". At the breeder that Yara came from the dogs are given names starting from A and ending in Z.


  1. that name ...yara...and its friend you got there...and how cool on him still being able to get in the water as i imagine that is very freeing...

    love your new header pic

  2. I love this aquarium. The jelly fish exhibit is so beautiful. It's like another world. I love your new header photo.
    You friend is an inspiration to us all. What he does must be so interesting and that he does it without legs is absolutely amazing.
    Thanks for this post. I hope you stay in touch with these friends. They look like good people... Yara too.

  3. Thanks for this glimpse into the actualized beauty of the human spirit.