Our Greatest Honor: Making Skydiving Accessible To All

Friday, June 30, 2017

On June 1st, 2017–a perfect bluebird day, if we’ve ever seen one–the Wisconsin Skydiving Center had the opportunity to do something really special. (Even for us!) On that day, we were able to take Joel Lamonska, age 63, for his very first tandem skydive. The kicker? Joel has been confined to a wheelchair for several years.

“I came and watched nine months ago,” Joel explains, “And I figured that when the weather got better I’d come out and give it a try. The last couple of years have been kinda dull for me, and I wanted to spice it up. A couple of friends talked me into it.”

And try he did. In fact, he nailed it.

As you might imagine, the jump was special from the start. Joel rolled onto the dropzone that morning dressed in a button-up shirt and khakis, surrounded by a crowd of rambunctious supporters. They formed a happy, supportive circle around him and watched enrapt as Bo Babovic taught Joel about the special harness that we put together just for him.

To put it mildly: We were so impressed. Joel’s calm, easy going manner belies a rock-solid toughness under the surface, and he made the experience a cinch for all of us.

Joel’s smile after his triumphant landing said it all. When asked how he liked the jump, he responded that the jump was “fantastic”–and that he’d definitely recommend it to his friends.

“Everything that I experienced today went beyond what I expected,” Joel grins. “I enjoyed the whole experience. Feeling that freedom from everything.”

“It was fun for me, too!,” his videographer interjects. “These are the kind of jumps that the sport is all about. It’s not just about getting out there and getting wild; it’s about touching another soul and getting to know other people.” He leaps to add that this was “one of the best jumps that [he’s] ever been involved with.”

We at the Wisconsin Skydiving Center have been looking at the video a lot since Joel made his jump (which you can watch on our Facebook page). We think it represents the very best of skydiving–the extent to which what seems like “just a skydive” can make a difference in not just one life, but many. We feel profoundly lucky that we’re able to do this, and we’re looking forward to taking Joel for his next skydive soon!

Do you want to make a skydive, but you’re worried you won’t meet the tandem skydiving medical requirements? You might be surprised. Give us a call! We’ll do everything we can to help you experience the wild blue yonder.