Thanks Arlo for starting this post and Richard Andro for the additional information on Steve and the families wishes. Especially the information on Garrett. He's such a wonderful little boy and many of us have been lucky enough to watch him grow up around SDD. Not to mention he's my wife, Tiffany's, boyfriend!
Mariann and Rick Duran had a vision about 5 years ago. Rick likes to call his method "Pay It Forward" and has done other things with this since. But their original brain child was Confusion 8... they wanted to give from their experiences and recruited 6 newbies, I think 5 of us had less than 100 jumps. And so Rick and Mariann, eventually along with Lou Massey, Sean Rawls on video took 6 newbies, wet under the collar and began giving us some of the greatest/cheepest coaching any skydiver could ever get. THIS was Mariann in every sense of the word, she'd happily and literally give you the shirt off her back.
Pinky V made it through 4way TSL only with the ground and exit training and time Mariann and Lou would give AT each and every TSL... of course because we didn't ever practice. All while they were competing themselves.
Had plenty of fun/funny/party times at Mariann's place up in McKinney, most of those stories will be kept locked away . But I think somebody has some great pictures of that first Christmas Party at her place at least.
Then at the Schrimser boogie 2003 I was the lucky draw for the first Texas Pink Patch attempt of the boogie. For those of you that don't know, it's a 20way Texas Star, 19 ladies and this lucky guy here. One of the gals took the wrong slot on the jump and it almost didn't make. Mariann, sooooo on the top of her game and heads up left her slot, flew over, grabbed this girl, pulled her into the correct slot and allowed the final two of us to slide in. It ended up being the only Pink Patch to make and hold the entire boogie... maybe even since?
For funny video, you should probably see Sean Rawls, got some funny stuff from the Confusion training... especially the documentary of Lou's funnel of the exit after 30 straight. That's got to be some kind of record for newbies, nailing 30 straight 8way exits. Most at the dz thought Mariann and Rick were crazy and it wouldn't be safe. I think they proved everyone wrong and am proud to be a part of it.
We've had a blast, and I'm sure Mariann is having one right now hanging out with John and the others.
We love you Mariann!
Donnie, Tiffany and Mason (sorry you never got to meet our little man)