Don't really know how to use these posts, or if I'm doing this right but I had to say something.
Paul came to work at our DZ this summer. I didn't jump with him, didn't work with him, yet he made a big impression in the little time we spent walking to the plane, sitting inside, opening the airplane door for me... What a gentleman.
He also told me that despite jumping for 15 years, he NEVER got burnt out. He found skydivers to be much more accepting than the general public. What he didn't like was fake business people who only seemed to like you - for their business.
Paul was wise and experienced beyond his years. It was a privilege knowing him for this short time.
I only knew Paul for a month but I am deeply saddened to see him go. I did the majority of my AFF progression with him and it was wonderful to learn and fly with such a great person. He was truly an amazing man and he will be greatly missed.
He made me feel more than welcome and relaxed in a sport that is daunting and terrifying to a beginner. I felt close to him early on because he was so happy to sit and bs when there were clouds or downtime at the DZ.
He seemed to truly care and I could tell how passionate he was for the sport. On my first release skydive he moved to my main side for me to practice 90 degree turns and when I moved to face him something finally 'clicked' and I understand how to fly my body better. I got a huge smile and his face lit up and got a thumbs up as he tracked away after I pulled. When I got to the ground he ran up to me and congratulated me and told me reactions like mine were the reason he loved teaching so much. That is such a simple thing but to me now it holds so much power and is a memory that I will never forget.
Even though our time was fleeting I am happy to have known and learned from him. I can only hope his family and friends can find peace with his passing and that he is in a better place somewhere.
(This post was edited by Crohnie on Aug 10, 2010, 2:01 AM)
As a novice, and rather overweight, wannabe freeflyer I spent a week holiday in Arizona to attempt to learn the basics of sitflying. Paul was my assigned coach (well overqualified for the job) and left an impression on me that will not be forgotten.
He put up with my flailing in the air and was really positive and encouraging in my debriefs. However, I think it was his warmth and genuine nature after the jumps that made him such a great bloke.
From the start Paul always had an easy smile for me and others. For the most part we mainly just shared airplanes on the way to altitude. He always seemed thrilled to catch a ride to altitude and was always helpful. On several occasions he assisted me with disabled tandem passengers, without my having to ask. He was definately the man for the job, great guy!
We also had more than a few gut-busting laughs while waiting for airplanes. I for one will miss him dearly, and I know his passing has caused much turmoil in our skydiver family, and in the world in general. Some of our greatest ones have left us far too early.