Extreme Interview: Glen Faith, Owner of Mermet Springs in Metropolis, IL

Boy do I ever have the interview for you today… Have you met Glen Faith? Do you even know who that is? Well, if you’ve been to Mermet Springs, surely more than once you’ve seen him as he is the mastermind evil genius… I mean the owner of Mermet Springs in Metropolis, Illinois.

Last September when we took our annual trip to Metropolis, Illinois to dive the quarry, I got the opportunity to catch up with Glen, set him down, and interview him.

The first question I asked was… Glen, how did you get started diving?

I started my diving career on my secretary of state police dive team. We did a lot of vehicle insurance investigations and stuff like that. So for almost 24 years that’s what I did. I dove for guns, cars, bodies, etc. Everyone knows what dive teams do.

I started diving in 1988. I have just a little over 3,000 dives. But one of my biggest achievements is I’m an instructor trainer. I eat, breathe, and sleep scuba.

Here at Mermet Springs Sunday’s are slower. Saturdays average 100-120 people, but as the weather starts to cool it will slow down.

Now, the latest news at Mermet Springs: We brought in wifi. We brought in a fiber optic network. We’ll be able to provide all the dive shops and divers

Elogs (training records/digital)

The quarry is located between 2 cornfields which doesn’t provide much opportunity for any kind of internet, but we finally were able to get the fiber optic network in so that all of our people can come dive, but stay up-to-date on the world around them.

We have professionals of all sorts that come out here to dive. This opportunity allows them to stay connected with work and families. Depending on your phone network you can even call home. The best story is we’ve had a lady out here who was a real estate agent who was able to do a dive, do a virtual home tour, and then continue to dive.

Here at Mermet Springs we are a dive destination as well as a dive shop, but we draw a strict line between the two. As a diver, you should support your local dive shop so as a dive destination, we won’t try to take business away from your dive shop, however locally we are your local dive shop. Right now we have over 50 people on our dive staff.

I mentioned that I have my instructor trainer certification. To teach someone to dive is an amazing thing. But to teach the teacher to teach a student to dive… that’s extremely exciting.

When you give someone the gift of scuba you give them the key to experience the rest of the world. It’s amazing.

An amazing story… We had a family of 9 come through. A guy who was certified in the early 80’s came in and wanted his family to all be certified. They were ages 10-50. We took our time and it took a few days but they are all certified. Not only are they certified but they are calm, confident, and safe as divers. To watch the whole family buzz and talk about diving and trips. I love getting text messages from families like that.

Where is your favorite place to dive?

It’s easy, that’s Mermet Springs {with a big grin on his face!}. Other than Mermet Springs there’s 2 or 3 top ones. Chuuk Lagoon also known as Truk lagoon which is WWII wrecks, Palau (North East of New Guinea in the South Pacific) and Costa Rica, Cocoas Island. Costa Rica is because of the Hammer Head Sharks. This question is hard. Oh and the Philippines have Whale Sharks. Have you seen a yellow school bus? They’re bigger than that.

What’s your occupation?

In charge of fun and recreation.

Comical Dive Experience… In the Bahamas, it’s just a typical dive buddy thing. I had one of my divers who is a very close friend. Never dove in the ocean before. Local farm boy who helped me build this place. He was scared to death of sharks, didn’t want to see a shark. 30 minutes into the dive I turned my light out and you know what was coming. I snuck up behind him and grabbed both of his calves while he was taking pictures and pulled him as hard as he can. He screamed like a girl.

So the big focus of this diving destination, is the Plane. How did you know about the plane?

Front lady from Warner Bros showed up out of the blue. Wanted to talk to us about shooting a scene for shooting US Marshalls and wanted to use the cliffs. I talked to the lady and she said that the movie had a 727 jet in it. I’m not bashful so I looked her in the eye and asked what they were going to do with the plane after the movie was over. She said I don’t know. I said, can I have it? She started laughing and I said I’m serious.

I didn’t hear anything from her for about 6 weeks. I needed a guy for a safety diver. I told the guy, every day you go to work say Can Glen have the plane? After about 6 weeks, she called me up and said you can have the stupid airplane.

Then I went oh crap, how am I going to move an airplane. So we had to make it legal. They released their interest in it by the lawyers so they charged me a dollar.  I mailed it to Chicago. Then I went down to Metropolis to pick up the plane, they had it sitting on a barge. They had it at bay city.

I was happy because I bought a 727 for $1. I walked in and said, I bought the 727 jet. They said, sir you have 7 days to get it off our barge or it’ll be $1,000 demerge. I called my sergeant and said I needed a week off from work.

I called a guy who moves large mining equipment (Industrial rigging). His friend was like a 727, that’s a big airplane, but he agreed to move it. I worked with him and the barge company. Moved up the river to Joppa. Then we had to cut it in half to move it. Then we moved it up US 45. We had a Crane here to set it off the trucks. Inched it back together so it would match. It’s like a 45,000lb egg shell. The way it’s sitting it’s upside down.  I wanted it right side up so we had to figure out how to get it up.

There are big steel plates that bolt it together in the center. The next trick was to figure out how to get it to the water. I got ahold of a local crane company. They wanted $8 grand to move it from here to there. I didn’t have that. We’re a farming community here so we put farm boy ingenuity to work. I borrowed a couple fork lifts, an eye beam, and steal axels off a semi. You could pull it around the parking lot with a truck. Just to the right of the primary dock. We dozed a ramp, then we went and got railroad ties and built ramps on top of that. We configured lift bags so it would upright itself. So we took the tongue and made it able to spin. The heavy part of the plane was up.  So it righted itself up. We had lift bags all over that thing.

It was scary because of the unknown.  Whether it sinks, floats or falls in half, it’s all news.

Took us a day and a half to drop this. We physically pulled it where we wanted. Tail is 15 feet. When we set the nose down, it didn’t even disturb the silt. We dropped it that slow.

And that Ladies and Gentlemen is Glen Faith. As you know, we’re headed to Mermet Springs Next Week. I hope that you are able to attend this diving destination with us! Can’t wait to see you there!

Check out our past posts on Mermet Springs

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