Longtime Seattle Aquarium volunteer celebrates with a final dive

Janet, Seattle Aquarium volunteer

In December, one of the Seattle Aquarium’s longest-serving volunteer divers, Janet Hensley, took her last dip in the Underwater Dome—and, notes Volunteer Services Manager Katrina Bettis, “It was a unique dive that she will no doubt never forget.” Early morning divers hid a special sign in the waters of the exhibit, out of view of anyone who happened to be strolling through, and waited until the right moment to surprise Janet during her dive shift.

Says Katrina, “Later that evening when Janet was relaying the story to me, she said, “My dive buddy Phil kept telling me I should go to a particular area in the exhibit and I couldn’t figure out, but eventually I went over anyway.” When she did, she discovered the sign that had been left for her. Another volunteer who was on the “dry side” in the Dome said Janet got really quiet and then could be heard over the speakers, crying.

Janet’s final dive took place 20 years and three months to the day she started volunteering with the Seattle Aquarium. Her husband, family and friends gathered to witness it. The Underwater Dome holds a special place in the lives of Janet and her husband—they were married there long before the Aquarium began its private event rental program. Janet doesn’t think of the Seattle Aquarium as a place she volunteers…she thinks of it as extension of her family.

We thank Janet for her many years as a volunteer—during which she doubtless inspired thousands of Aquarium visitors! Interested in becoming a Seattle Aquarium volunteer or volunteer diver? Visit the volunteer page on our website for details and upcoming orientation dates.

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