Oct 31, 2012, 9:52 AM
Post #1 of 5
This is a story about an old jumper who is one of my heroes in life, so I thought I'd put it here.
Blaine almost died last fall. He was jumping into the Grizzly Stadium in Missoula, Montana. This is near Hellgate Canyon. The winds are unpredictable here. Blaine was the senior jumper on the load. He wasn't going to make the stadium without hitting a crowd of people. He turned off to try for a grassy area that was nearby. His canopy hit a tree, and he crashed into a cement wall, and a little girl.
It was lights out from that point on. He broke his femur and like twenty other broken bones. He almost bled to death internally. They life flighted him to Seattle. He said he almost died on that flight. With his collapsed lungs, he was struggling to breath.
It was months and months before he could walk again. Last week he walked into Grizzly Stadium. He stood on the fifty yard line, to a standing ovation. This was one year after his tragic landing.
This stirred up a lot of memories in Blaine. He has more jumps into Grizzly stadium than anyone I know. This is the town he grew up in, and where he trained to jump forty some years ago.
Blaine is a World Team Member several times over. The only Montana jumpers that I know of, that are on his level are B.J. Worth, and Hod Sanders.
On a few world record jumps, in Thailand, Blaine would release some of his Dad's ashes as he was coming down.
We were jumping with Blaine at Lost Prairie one time, when I noticed a scarr that ran most of the way down one of his legs. I asked about it. I guess it was from a broken femur, that he got blade running. I heard he broke his femur again, a couple years ago, mountain biking.
Blaine started jumping in the early 70's in Missoula. I even helped train him. He was 16 years old. He went a long ways since then, but the nice thing about Blaine is that he isn't too good to jump with old friends.
Blaine has a big heart! After the accident he visited the little girl he hit on landing. She was unhurt, but shook up about things. When he was home and able to walk, Blaine went to her classroom and gave her a skydiving T-shirt.
I don't know of all of Blaine's accomplishments. I'll bet there is a long list. He works as an aero-space engineer. He used to be a professional water skier.
Blaine doesn't know if he'll jump again. Coming that close to death changes one's perspective on things. I don't have a lot of heroes in life, but Blaine is one of them.