Let's start with a person that some of you may remember from back in July 2012 when the new Matt Leyden's Dive Shop opened, Diana Smith, my mother. For those of you who don't remember, she is the lady that always wore a heavy coat, even in the summer! She loaned us the money for the building sign and the first Aqua Lung order (we paid her back in only 1.5 years). She also greeted everyone that came in, kept track of sales, answered the phone, relayed messages, handled correspondence, and kept me informed of what was going on in the shop while I was at my full time job. She did all this for 3 years without pay because she believed in me and in the Dive Shop. Even when she was no longer able to make it in she continued to encourage me and inquire about how things were going at the shop until her death in May of this year. Though she is gone, her memory will continue on in the shop and with those who knew her.
The other person I would like to mention is Matt Leydens. He was one of my instructors back in 1975 at the YMCA. He was also my dive partner and most recently, my business partner until May of this year. Matt was one of the pioneers in diving. He was diving and teaching others to dive before there were any certifying agencies. We dove together on many trips and I helped him with his classes for many years as a volunteer, an assistant instructor, and eventually as an instructor. In May of 2012, after retiring from his main business, he asked me to help him reopen the shop as a full partner. We continued to dive and work together until he was no longer able to at the age of 88 (he is 91 now) and in May of this year I was able to purchase his half of the business and , at his request, change the name to STC Dive Center.
Both of these people paved the way for STC Dive Center to become what it is today and I am so grateful for all they have contributed to our continued success!