The success of Lake Fairlee’s milfoil program is due in no small part to our dive team. While other lakes struggle each year to find and train divers, we enjoy a high return rate of seasoned, experienced milfoil divers. In addition to their understanding of milfoil eradication techniques they share a love of nature and the outdoors.
As the new volunteer coordinator of our milfoil program I have been getting to know the members of our team. They are a diverse and eclectic bunch. They have a dedicated, professional attitude about their work, and they like to have fun. I will take this opportunity to tell you a bit about each of them here. If you see them on the lake or at the boat ramp please introduce yourself and thank them for the good work that they do.
Ira Nelson-Bokum (27) is the head diver. He has seven years experience on the Lake Fairlee milfoil crew, and nine as a PADI certified diver. He claims his winter job is an “off duty diver,” but I happen to know that he traveled in both Scotland and Oregon last winter. He likes rock climbing and keeping his vehicles running on reclaimed vegetable oil.
AJ Beard (29) has been diving for eight years, six professionally. He boasts all certifications up through Dive Master, and has a PADI Basic Milfoil certificate. In the off season he is learning to fly helicopters, and hopes to become a Medical Rescue Pilot (EMS). AJ is organized, outgoing, and assertive. He likes hiking, camping, and good company.
Dan Rippe (24) is the only member of the crew who is married. He started with the Lake Fairlee milfoil team last season. His primary activity in the winter is raising his three year old son. He likes hiking, traveling, and gardening. Although he is the youngest in years and sports wild dreadlocks, he is the family man of the group.
Ben Rippe (27) is Dan’s brother. He joined the crew this year, when Sacha’s decision to go to school created an opening. He received his open water diving certificate in Austrailia in 2003. He seems quiet and thoughtful, but perhaps he is just new. He plays the banjo and enjoys organic gardening in his time off.
All four of our divers have roots in the Upper Valley. In fact, all four of them attended Hanover High School, at least for a while. They share a strong belief in the goals of our program: the control of milfoil in Lake Fairlee. They thank you for your support and ask your cooperation in their mission.