In the months following Hurricane Katrina, Troy Carpenter was a very busy man. A criminal investigator with the Harrison County, Mississippi, Sheriff's Department, he was so on-the-go that only his wife was reading the issues of Sport Diver that were coming in the mail. But Troy was able to visit the magazine's site on the internet, and he did so whenever he had a chance.
"Diving's a passion for me," he explains.. "My first patrol assignment with the department was with the Beach and Marine Patrol, and I was at the time the only non-diver on the team. So they made me the timekeeper, the guy recorded when divers went into the water, when they came out, and whatnot. After a couple of days, I said, 'The heck with this. I want to be down there, doing what they're doing.' So I got myself trained at my own expense, from Open Water Diver all the way up through PADI Divemaster, and I not only became a sheriff's diverI wound up leading the dive team for a number of years. I dived for my workin my career I have made over 2,000 'blackwater,' or zero-visibility law enforcement dives. And during time off my wife and I love dive travel.
"We'd been to Cozumel and to the Bahamas, and we were just talking about how great it would be to go someplace really exotic when I saw the ad for Sport Diver's 'Trip of a Lifetime' contest. I've always figured that, with a contest like that, you can't win if you don't enter, so I sent in an entry and then I forgot all about it."
He forgot about it, that is, until he received the phone call informing him that he had been randomly drawn as the winner o a week-long trip for two to Dive Kadavu/Matana Resort in Fiji, including airfare, lodging, diving, meals and all hotel taxes and service charges.
And it came at a great time at his lifejust as Troy was making the switch from county law enforcement to a career in corporate security.
"My wife was astounded when I told here we'd won," Troy recalls. "I hadn't even told her that I'd entered."
But soon she and Troy will be enjoying Kadavu's coral reefs and secluded beaches, thanks to Sport Diver and its partners Scuba Travel Adventures, Air Pacific (Fiji's international airline) and Dive Kadavu Fiji.
"Fiji!" He says. "No one's more surprised about this than me. But it's like I saidthe one thing all people who've won a contest like this have in common is that, back in the beginning, they all took a moment to enter."