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Ridge faces decision about unique hobby

By Ada Peterman

There are few teachers at Flora High School that have a more unique hobby than Mr. Ridge. For the last several years he has parachuted out of an airplane over 1000 times. Then something happened during May of last year. A fluke accident left him with a badly injured foot. For Mr. Ridge, the issue now is what comes next. 

The fateful jump in may of last year began just like any other. He met up with the other skydivers at 5000 feet they all jumped, everything was normal until when he was landing, about 30 feet above the ground. Then in a fluke incident, he was caught in a dust devil that collapsed his parachute and he fell straight down

“The reason I crashed was because I ran into a dust devil. But I didn’t see it because it was really close to this building, and I came into land and the dirt devil sucked the air out of my canopy and dropped me about 35 feet.”

Mr. Ridge was well trained for rough landings but this happened so fast that he had no time to react. The fall nearly severed his left foot. 

“I just stuck my foot out and landed on it, and it popped off. It’s just one of those things; it’s a chance you take.”

“It’s just a freak thing, and I’m just lucky I still have my foot because it dislocated and came off, and in the video, I picked it up and put it back down and said I can’t do anything with this.” 

The next few months of rehabilitation brought new challenges. 

“I couldn’t walk on it for three or four months. Then I got on crutches for another two or three months. And then I was in that boot for two or three months. I mean it took a long time to get it back together because I knocked my foot off. I mean that’s what happened, I dislocated it and broke the tibia and stuck it out the side, and they had to reconstruct it and put it back on.”

“And I still don’t have tendons and ligaments where I should have so my arch doesn’t work right now, so I might have to have one more surgery, but we’ll see.” 

One of the good things that came from this rehabilitation was the realization of just how much people in his life cared for him.

“I found out that a lot of people like me, which was nice. My friends helped me: they stopped by, they brought food and helped me when I had to go to doctor’s appointments, getting in and out of the car because that was really hard to do.”

“I am really blessed with how many people helped me, I can never repay their generosity for trying to get me back on my feet.”

With his rehab nearly finished he faces a decision about going forward. Does he quit skydiving and move on? Or does he continue to do the thing he loves? 

“Other than the selfish feeling sometimes that I get and worrying about my wife, I still love it, I dream about it I would do it today; I mean if it was up to me, I would go do it again. I just enjoy it so much and it helps me focus, it’s a coping skill, and it’s exciting and scary and everything.”

“Even with what I did to myself, I know that that was a freak thing and the law of averages say that if I go do it again i’ll probably land and it will be no problem”

The time for him to make his decision is coming soon.

“But we’ll see I have to start making up my mind about what to do”

The question now is will he be considering everything will he choose to continue with one last jump, does he pick up where he left off and continue diving? Or does he close that chapter in his life? The decision is still yet to be made, but Mr. Ridge is keeping an open mind and positive attitude towards it nevertheless. 

“It’s going to work out one way or the other. I’ll either do it and be happy, or I won’t do it anymore, and I’ll be happy. Because I’ll get in my head and say it is what it is, so it will work out.”

Posted by on February 1, 2021. Filed under Features. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.