Wounded warriors to take the plunge

Published 10:37 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

A wounded warrior completes his skydive during last year’s “Jumping for a Purpose” event at Skydive Suffolk. The event, renamed the “Spring Boogie,” will take place again this weekend at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

A wounded warrior completes his skydive during last year’s “Jumping for a Purpose” event at Skydive Suffolk. The event, renamed the “Spring Boogie,” will take place again this weekend at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

Nearly four dozen wounded warriors will be treated to a skydive this weekend at Skydive Suffolk.

The third annual “Spring Boogie,” as the event has come to be known, is hosted by Wounded Wear and Troopswap. Skydive Suffolk shuts down its normal operations for the weekend to host the event, which is expected to draw up to 2,000 people.

“This is to show our appreciation and support them,” said Larry Pennington, who owns Skydive Suffolk. “The ones that are jumping, this is a good way to get them back in the game. A lot of those kids come back and they’re hurt, they’re broke, they think life is over for them. This is a way to show them there’s a whole lot left.”

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In addition to the wounded warriors, who will be jumping both Saturday and Sunday, the event will include two bands, local vendors, a flag jump and more.

In addition to supporting the wounded warriors, the event provides an opportunity for people meet wounded service members and show their gratitude.

“It’s a good way for the parents to bring their children out to see that the price of freedom isn’t free,” Pennington said, noting that many of the wounded warrior guests will be amputees.

Mrs. Virginia International Amber Wandtke will be at the event promoting awareness of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She is active-duty in the Navy, and PTSD awareness is her platform in the competition, she said.

“I’ve seen firsthand what it can do to people,” said Wandtke, who also will be taking the plunge to show her support. “I’ve met people in the military that felt something was wrong with them.”

PTSD is not just a military issue, she noted. People who have been abused by their partner or suffered any number of other traumatic events can be affected.

“It’s something that I’m really passionate about,” she said. “I’m hoping I can take it to the next level by doing these events. This is just a fun event celebrating who they are and what they’ve sacrificed. I just think it’s important to do these fun events for people that may not have these opportunities sometimes.”

There is no fee to be a spectator at the event. Individuals or groups who would like to sponsor it can do so by contacting Skydive Suffolk at 539-3531.

Skydive Suffolk is located at the Suffolk Executive Airport, 1200 Gene Bolton Drive.

For more information, visit www.skydivesuffolk.com or www.woundedwear.org.