How Skydiving Changed My Life

How Skydiving Changed My Life - James Hilliard

HSCML20136

by James Hilliard | B-35434 | Lincoln, Nebraska

In 2007, at the age of 23, I moved to a new city to be closer to family and finish college. Before moving, I hadn't given much thought to how I would support myself in this new location. Pilot certificates filled my wallet, and I already had a couple years of experience working as a flight instructor. Therefore, I knew my best chances for finding work would be as a pilot. Internet searches led me to the local drop zone. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Ali VanHoose

HSCML20135

by Ali VanHoose | B-37618 | Celebration, Florida

In 2003, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and depression with a side of anxiety. I got on meds, went to therapy regularly and tried to sort out my life. I came across an organization called SOAR (Speaking Out About Rape), founded by Kellie Greene. In 2005, I had the pleasure of meeting her at a weekend retreat in Orlando. It was then that I heard about Operation Freefall, an annual skydiving fundraiser hosted by SOAR. It involved raising money by jumping out of a plane. At the time, I took little pink pills to calm my nerves on flights. I always wanted to jump, dreamed of flying and desired to participate, but fear held me back for years. Seven years, to be exact. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Gary Holden

HSCML20134

by Gary Holden | D-31444 | Cincinnati, Ohio

This adventure all started around my 60th birthday, in March 2009, while talking with my co-worker, Abby, who has the same birthday as I do (though I’m 30 years older). We were trying to come up with something special to do. I mentioned that I would like to jump out of an airplane before I got too old to do it. Abby said that she had always wanted to do it, too, and we made a pact: I would do it if she would. So in June, we made our first tandem skydives. I was hooked! Then we made two more, one in July and one in August. In September, we started the AFF program at Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio, but ran out of good weather before the end of the season and had to finish the following year. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Alana Wilson

HSCML20133

by Alana Wilson | USPA #266048 | Minnesota City, Minnesota

I'm here to tell you that life begins after 40 … or should I say, “after skydiving”? I never knew how fulfilling or empowering skydiving would be for me until I went for my first tandem skydive. After raising my two daughters on my own and realizing I was truly going to have an empty nest, I decided it was time to go out and do the things I always wanted to do but didn’t because I had to think of my family first. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Samantha Hopkins

HSCML20132

by Samantha Hopkins | B-36043 | Vernon, Connecticut

I waddled my way to the edge of the plane door with a strange man strapped to my back. I thought to myself, “What did I sign myself up for?” My tandem instructor screamed, “Out! In! Out!” and as quick as that, I was plummeting to the earth at 120 mph. I didn’t know that this moment would be the beginning of an unforgettable journey. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Larry Wiezorek

HSCML20131

by Larry Wiezorek | A-61324 | Carbondale, Kansas

I was nearing 50 years old and wondered, “What has life got in store for me? I have enjoyed life; I have enjoyed family and friends. My children are grown and gone. What’s left?” I rode bulls for the first 10 to 15 years of my adult life (I even reached a professional level) and walked the high steel as an ironworker, yet I searched my soul and realized that I had never reached my ultimate dream. But what was my ultimate dream? more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Connie Krusi

HSCML201212

by Connie Krusi | D-18905 | New Braunfels, Texas

Ten thousand jumps is a lot of jumps, even in this day of multiple-turbine drop zones, where one is able to make multiple jumps every day of the week. Ten thousand tandems is an even bigger feat, especially when you were initially told you weren’t tall enough or strong enough to be a tandem instructor. For you see, I’m only 5 feet 2 inches tall. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Nancy Fichtelberg

HSCML201211

by Nancy Fichtelberg | USPA #247308 | North Brunswick, New Jersey

All of my life I have been afraid of so much: roller coasters, heights and even flying in airplanes! If I was a passenger in a car, I would tell the driver to slow down. I was not much of a daredevil, to say the least. I never had a hobby or had anything that I loved doing. I was the mom of four daughters who meant the world to me, but they were grown and had their lives to live. My husband and I had a home that was becoming empty. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Jorge Bauza

HSCML201210

by Jorge Bauza | A-63105 | Denton, Texas

It all started when my son, Kelki, turned 18. As a birthday present, he wanted to make a tandem jump. We went to Xtreme Divers West in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, and he made his jump. On his 19th birthday, I asked, “What do you want to do this year?” He replied, "I want you to jump with me!" And that is how I made my first tandem jump. After that jump, Kelki asked for my blessing to become a skydiver. Based on my experience in the school of life, my reply was a blessing and advice to stay safe. So, there he went. more »

How Skydiving Changed My Life - Jake Morse

HSCML20129

by Jake “Feather” Morse | C-39588 | Minnetonka, Minnesota

Two years ago, I was willing to try nearly anything to rebalance my mix of work and life. I sought a social hobby that people really got excited about, with a small, close community that calls itself family. I’ve had hobbies and a social life, but the two never really comfortably overlapped. I sought that overlap. more »