CommunityVeterans In Focus


Local business offers veterans free dolphin tours

Posted at 5:30 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 20:20:13-05

INGLESIDE, Texas — For veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress, the peace of nature can bring healing.

There are several programs which help get veterans into nature, many of them involve being on the water. The latest gets them an up close look at dolphins.

That's why one Ingleside business decided to make its services available to veterans at no charge.

“I’m a patriot, I love America, we live in the greatest country that God ever gave us,” said Kelley Burnett.

That's why when Burnett was asked by Nieces County’s V eteransd Services Officer J.J. de la Cerda to consider giving dolphin tours to veterans, the answer was wholeheartedly yes.

“We just kind of started talking and I said we’d be happy, in fact I’d love to take them out for free,” said Burnett.

Burnett runs Dolphin Connection Ingleside. Since the summer, she's offered her tours to veterans for free.

Veterans like Michael Stout, who enjoyed watching the dolphins jump around the tour boat.

“I get pretty emotional, so sometimes it brought that excitement to me,” Stout said. “It made me a little teary-eyed at times.”

Seeing that emotions from her guests warms Burnett’s heart.

“When I see them out there and their attention is on the dolphins, they’re not worrying about their problems,” Burnett said. “They’re not worrying about whatever is on their mind, it’s immediately erased.”

There are plenty of dolphins to see in the La Quinta Ship Channel between Ingleside and Aransas Pass, in fact many swim up to the boat.

Burnett says she had veterans suffering from PTSD in mind when she made these tours available, but all veterans are welcome. It's the least she can do, she says, for what veterans did for our country.

“These guys, they sacrifice,” Burnett said. “They went overseas while we were sleeping in our warm beds, and they were over there in the hot sun. I just want to acknowledge what they do.”

Dolphin Connection’s veterans tours are currently own hold for the Winter, though Burnett says they’ll resume in March.For more information, click here, or call (361) 776-2887.