How Skydiving Changed My Life

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Tom Underwood


by Tom Underwood | USPA #277811 | Anchorage, Alaska

On May 31, 1998, I died. There were no lights and I didn’t flat line. But one life ended and another began that day. I was sitting in my easy chair watching some innocuous television program when it felt like I had been shot in the gut with a load of molten lead. There were no thoughts, only pain, as I fell from the chair vomiting. The last thing I remember was the emergency room doors closing on my feet. I was put in a coma. My illness was acute necrotizing pancreatitis. At the time it was 95 percent fatal, and my survival was a gift from God. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Shauna Finley


by Shauna Finley | C-42387 | Wantage, New Jersey

July 22, 2013, was the day that changed my life. A week earlier, a coworker and I had received a briefing that a new drop zone was opening in our patrol area. The owners had invited troopers from our station to come out and make a tandem skydive. The two of us showed up at the brand-new drop zone, Skydive Sussex in New Jersey, on the 22nd to start on our paths to becoming skydivers. From the moment I landed with my tandem instructor, I knew I had found a new passion. My instructor said he knew from the look on my face that I was hooked. He couldn’t have been more right. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Izabella Toledo


by Izabella Toledo | C-41275 | Sherbrooke, Quebec

This weekend I celebrated four years of skydiving by making my 400th jump! Four years ago my life definitely changed for the better. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Carlyn Burczyk


by Carlyn Burczyk | A-65295 | Levittown, New York

At the beginning of 2012, my boyfriend, Michael, and I started working at a local drop zone doing photography and video editing, and we both began jumping later that season. That October, Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island, New York. At the time, Michael and I lived in an apartment on the water, and it flooded from the storm. Everything was completely drenched, but most of it was still salvageable. The next day, we returned just in time to see the fire department shoveling through our destroyed belongings. We found out that the corroded outlets had sparked a fire and torched almost everything we owned. Anything that wasn’t burnt in the fire was either melted or completely smoke damaged. We had nothing left. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Jessie Rivadeneyra


by Jessie Rivadeneyra | B-40524 | Ridge, New York

Your pulse is racing, your heart’s beating so fast it feels like it might jump out of your chest, a cold sweat is beading down your neck, your hands are shaking … it all sounds like how you’d feel after landing from an exciting jump, right? Well, it is, but it’s also how you’d feel after waking up in the middle of the night from an anxiety attack after having a night terror. The feeling of adrenaline rushing through your body can be either a terrifying nightmare or a beautiful experience. When did skydiving change my life? The moment I understood the difference between the two. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Chad Hall


by Chad Hall | D-33207 | Baytown, Texas

Just over a year and a half ago I wandered into Skydive Spaceland in Rosharon, Texas, with my family and some friends to do a tandem jump. My son, William, had just turned 18 a couple of months before, so I gave him a tandem skydive as a present. That jump was incredible! We were both in love with freefall, so I asked the manager, Jason Hyder, if I could do my second tandem and also my first solo on that same day. He said, "If you go pay for it, I will make it happen." I promptly returned to manifest and paid for the second tandem, ground school and first solo. I also gave my son a second tandem. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Giesel Widmer


by Giesel Widmer | B-39171 | Austin, Texas

There are things in this life that will move you, things that will captivate you, things that will fit so perfectly into your world that you find it hard remembering a life without them. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Mike Horan


by Mike Horan | D-881 | Carrabelle, Florida

A short leave from the U.S. Marine Corps in mid-September 1964 had me traveling to East Moriches, New York, home of the Long Island Skydivers. That Sunday morning I wandered around the drop zone looking for a sign of activity. The day was cloudy, windy and starting to mist … no day for skydiving. I then noticed a young man crawling out of his bed—a red, white and blue canopy—in the hangar. I asked him if he was a jumper or a pilot, and he said, “Yeah, I suppose so. I need some food,” and we climbed into his car. He said his name was Jim. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Adam Cutler


by Adam Cutler | B-38978 | Cape Elizabeth, Maine

When I was little, I was that rare kid who knew what he wanted to do with his life: more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Eric Penningroth


by Eric Penningroth | A-66009 | San Antonio, Texas

About two-and-a-half years ago, I decided to follow in my sister’s footsteps and make a tandem jump for my 50th birthday. She had done it several years earlier in Guam, and the pictures just looked awesome. So on the day before I turned 50, I went up in a Twin Otter and jumped. It was absolutely exhilarating! I purchased a coupon for another jump, which I used a year later toward payment to obtain my license. I had decided skydiving was a rush that I could enjoy more than once. more »