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  Southern Technical Aquatic Resource & Rescue

Paul Braud

NAUI / SDI / PSD / Rescue Swimmer & AHA Instructor

A dedicated Water Instructor, Paul learned how to SCUBA dive in 1982. After seeing a need for Public Safety Dive (PSD), Paul became a PSD in 1985 (before PSD was a common name) with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office as a Reserve serving in that capacity for 30 years. Paul is an ACTIVE NAUI SCUBA Instructor since 1994, a Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in the State of Louisiana, and has training as an Industrial Firefighter. In addition to being an American Heart Association (AHA) Instructor, Paul also trained with the Ocean Corporation in Commercial SCUBA Diving. Paul's passion is being in the water, teaching people how to operate in the aquatic environment for businesses, pleasure, and rescuers safely. It is Paul's dedication in providing excellent water education that makes him a great asset to STARR.

Jason Gallo

AHA / NAEMT / Water Rescue Instructor

A highly trained Special Operations Medic with over 20 years in the United States Navy before returning to the Public Sector in 2008 to serve as a Firefighter, Paramedic, and Reserve Deputy. Jason has certifications as a Naval Diver, Water Safety Survival Instructor, Mountain / Wilderness Training Instructor, Tactical Combat Casualty Care Instructor, Paramedic, and a Law Enforcement Officer. He strives to teach the knowledge learned to others working in Public Service. As an American Heart Association, National Association of EMT's, and Water Rescue Instructor provides intricate knowledge to students which enhances learning. Jason's military and civilian experience, passion for teaching, and willingness to give back to the community only proves his dedication to ensure STARR's mission of providing high-quality realistic training to individuals so that lives may be saved. 

Juston Lewter

Lead Water Rescue Instructor (NORTH)

More than 12 years experience as a professional firefighter / EMT / Water Rescue Instructor / Certified Fire Service Instructor. A member of Benton Fire District # 4 located near Bossier City, Louisiana. The Water Rescue Team Leader, Dive Team Leader, Firefighter, and Haz-Mat team member. Juston has experience in swift water and rescue boat operations during several water related disasters and has conducted water rescue training for many years in a variety of locations. His experience combined with practical application, years of fire and EMS service, along with a passion to teach others only adds to the quality of the learning experience students will receive from STARR Training.

Don Mieger

AHA / ASHI / NAEMT Instructor / AHA Training Center Faculty / NAEMT Affiliate Faculty

Holds a BA in Emergency and Disaster Management. Currently the Deputy Fire Chief at Carriere Fire Department located at Carriere, Mississippi having over 20 plus years in the Fire Service / Paramedic / Instructor / Water Rescue Operations. Don is the Commander of STARR, a Certified Diver, Rescue Boat Operator, Swift Water Rescue Technician, and Paramedic on the STARR Water Rescue Team. He has been involved in Swift Water and Rescue Boat Operations over the last 10 years and has conducted a variety of training sessions in many locations. Over 10 years of experience in OSHA guidelines, rules, and regulations. An instructor for American Heart Association, American Safety and Health Institution, and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians. This much experience in teaching and practical application in the rescue profession will only enhance learning in students no matter which course he/she may take.

Sheila Seal

AHA Instructor

Hold a BS in Public Health. Over 20 years as a Nurse in the healthcare profession with experience in Home-health, Rural, Clinical, and Senior Care settings. Sheila continues to improve her knowledge through education as she has obtained not only a degree in Nursing but also in Public Health. Her experience, knowledge, and educational background give students a quality learning experience second to none. As a nurse she has certification in Pre-Hospital Life Support, Advanced Medical Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support, and Emergency Pediatric Care just to name a few. She has been teaching for many years to both young and old, professionals and non-professional audiences with the highest of reviews. Teaching to students, passing on her knowledge, great learning experiences, and outstanding customer service makes her a one-of-a-kind.

Gary Simon

Lead Water Rescue Instructor (SOUTH) / AHA Instructor

Over 20 years experience as a professional firefighter / EMT/ Fire & Water Rescue Instructor / IFSAC Certified Fire Service Instructor III. Gary is a highly decorated individual who has experience in various disasters as a co-founder and past member of SELA-Task Force 1. Gary has experience as a front line responder who responded to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and many other that affected South East Louisiana.  He also has years of experience in command roles within the Fire Service and Emergency Operations Center. Being a lifelong learner, Gary continues to seek out educational opportunities to gain valuable knowledge. This has been especially true while working as an Emergency Manager for large corporations whereby using that knowledge increase preparedness, training, and response efforts. Since then, Gary has been passionate about teaching others the education, knowledge, and real-world experience gained after working in public service for more than 35 years.  It is that experience, desire, and passion that makes Gary a positive asset to STARR and those in his classes. Students who attend his courses gain high quality training which is in within the STARR tradition.

Mark Smith

NAUI / PADI / PSDA / SDI / Rescue Swimmer Instructor

More than 35 years experience in Instructing Diving and Swimming Courses. Owner of Underwater Adventures, provides all of STARR's dive training and is highly recommend as a outstanding instructor. A Navy Veteran, Mark has spent most of his life giving back to his community and those in Public Service as a member of the Baton Rough Sheriffs Office that responds to all types of water emergencies and conducted Public Safety Dive training to hundreds within the Law Enforcement profession. A board member of NAUI and PADI leads the dive industry in new innovative measures to improve safety within that of Water Rescue/Diving. Mark is either teaching or traveling showing off new and beautiful dive spots, but always educating someone somewhere.

Keith Thomas

AHA / ASHI / NAEMT Instructor / AHA Training Center Faculty / NAEMT Affiliate Faculty

Holds a Masters in Public Health (MPH), a MA in Emergency and Disaster Management, and is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through (IAEM). Spent over 20 years in the Fire Service  & EMS profession with the rank of Deputy Chief at McNeill Fire Department located in McNeill, Mississippi. Keith is the Deputy Commander of STARR, a Certified Rescue Diver, Public Safety Diver, Swift Water Rescue Technician, Rescue Boat Operator, Paramedic, Certified Emergency Manager (IAEM) and Mississippi Certified Emergency Manager (MCEM) for the STARR Water Rescue Team. He has been involved in all aspects of emergency operations and deployments from Swift Water Rescues to the Emergency Operations Center and most disaster that have affected the Gulf  Coast over the last 10 years. Keith has taught Water Rescue, Emergency Medical Responder and Emergency Medical Technology programs at higher learning institutions - Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Miller-Motte Technical College - as a State Certified Instructor. He is the Course Coordinator at STARR Training and possess instructor certifications from American Heart Association, American Safety and Health Institute, the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians, as well as being a State recognized higher-level education instructor. An asset to any course for students. Motto: Learn today save a life tomorrow.