Wounded warriors skydive with SS American Memorial

Steffanie Agnew - Seguin Gazette
Steffanie Agnew – Seguin Gazette

The idea of jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at 13,500 feet might sound scary to most people, but it can also be a healing experience for some veterans. The SS American Memorial in Seguin brought two Wounded Warriors to jump at Skydive San Marcos on Saturday to help them move past their wartime trauma.

The two veterans jumping were Brandon Walden, former Army corporal, who served from October 2010 to August 2015 and had been shot in Afghanistan, and Jacob Vanhovel, former Army sergeant, who served from December 2005 to January 2012, and had lost his right leg due to injury when his truck was hit by an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan.

Before their parachuting experience, Walden said he was nervous, but excited.

“Parachuting is supposed to be the next best thing for adrenaline rush to fire fights,” he said. “Jake and I went through a lot of those, so we’re ready for this for sure. Anything that we can do as far as an adrenaline rush, such as skydiving like this, we’re all for it, because I think that’s the best kind of therapy, especially if you fear it, to go through it.”

After watching an instructional and safety video, Walden and Vanhovel headed to the gear room to put on a jumpsuit and a harness fitting. They were joined by Craig Russell, Navy veteran and SS American Memorial board member, and his daughter Savanna.

“Coming out here and skydiving lets them get their mind right and helps them heal,” Russell said. “It’s what veterans and soldiers like to do, they love being outdoors, anything that has to do with outdoors that’s what they want to do all the time.”

Russell estimated that after they jumped from the plane, it took about eight minutes to land.

After the jump, Vanhovel said that it was a great experience.

“I thought I was going to be more hesitant out the door, but as soon as you were out, I was just like…>> Read Full Article and See Additional Pictures>>

Originally Posted:Wednesday, July 20, 2016 12:00 am www.seguingazette.com

Scroll to Top