Support skydiving warriors

Published 10:19 pm Thursday, October 13, 2016

Like most Saturdays, the sky above the Suffolk Executive Airport this Saturday will be punctuated all day long with colorful parachutes carrying thrill-seekers floating from planes down to the ground.

Unlike most Saturdays, however, the people who are skydiving will be wounded veterans, many with injuries that they may have previously believed would hinder them from trying something like skydiving.

Jason Redman, a wounded veteran himself, is the founder of Combat Wounded Coalition. Several years ago, he teamed up with Skydive Suffolk to host skydiving for wounded veterans as one of the coalition’s flagship programs.

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“Most veterans are thrill seekers in some capacity,” Redman said this week.

To date, the program has had 250 participants. More than 90 jumped during the 2013 event, but this year only 10 veterans and five sponsors will be jumping, to make it a more intimate experience.

“We want to share time with them and hear their stories,” Redman said.

Skydive Suffolk owner Mike Manthey, also a veteran, said the reactions of the veterans make all the work that goes into the event worthwhile.

“It’s like the weight of the world has been lifted off them,” he said. “The energy they have afterwards is awesome.”

The public is invited to the event to meet the veterans, learn more about community resources for veterans and more. There will be face painting for kids, music provided by a DJ, a lunch for veteran jumpers and Gold Star families, and more.

The event lasts from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Skydive Suffolk facility, 1200 Gene Bolton Drive.

We encourage everyone to attend the event to meet these warriors who have kept us safe. It’s now time to give back.