Skydiving event will benefit veterans’ group

For the Recorder
Published: 6/28/2018 9:16:54 PM

ORANGE — Some local veterans, along with their families and friends, plan to jump out of a plane 13,500 feet over Orange on Saturday.

22Kill New England, an organization that raises awareness about veteran suicide induced by post-traumatic stress, will host its third annual veteran skydiving event at Jumptown.

“When you get on the plane you think, ‘Yeah, I am going to do this,’ then at 15,000 feet the door opens and you hear the whoosh of air. You then scoot to the door and get to look out,” said 22Kill New England’s Program and Events Director Allan Katz. “Your heart starts pumping and that is what you had in combat, then you get the ride of your life.”

22Kill New England is the regional chapter of the national organization 22Kill. The name derives from a 2012 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs data report that indicated an average of 22 veterans and active military members die by suicide each day.

The event was started in 2016 to bring back adrenaline into veterans’ lives, said Katz.

“As far as post-traumatic stress, people tend to feel lack of uselessness or they fear waking up every day. When you get your adrenaline rush back, it gives you a new outlook on life that ‘Jesus, I am alive.’ It gives people extra days, extra years in their life,” he said.

More veterans and civilians have joined the event each year, from 30 participants in 2016 to 40 in 2017. About 70 skydivers plan to jump this year.

Army veteran Hilary Moll joined 22Kill in 2016. Having injured her back in a military parachute jump in 1987, she said she always wanted a second chance in the sky to replace that memory with a more positive one.

“My Jumptown instructor, Joe, took great care to explain how things would happen in the air and he let me decide what we would do. He gave me confidence to jump and I am so glad that I did. Jumptown restored my love for parachuting,” she said.

Moll returned to Jumptown in 2017 and plans on once again taking the leap this week.

22Kill encourages the community to come and cheer for the veterans and those brave enough to make the jump.

Katz said more funding and donations could in the future result in the event spanning two days — Saturday and Sunday — so more veterans are able to partake.

“It brings back a lot of camaraderie and forms a new brotherhood,” he said.


Support Local Journalism

Subscribe to the Greenfield Recorder, keeping Franklin County informed since 1792.

Greenfield Recorder

14 Hope Street
Greenfield, MA 01302-1367
Phone: (413) 772-0261


Copyright © 2021 by Newspapers of Massachusetts, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy