PROFILES IN ADVENTURE: Tandem Skydive Student, Dana Owens
Nine years ago she made a promise. On June 21st, Dana Owens kept it.
Dana Owens grew up in Claypool, Indiana, the third of five children. Marriage, kids, and decades of life later, the siblings remained close, visiting often, supporting each other and their parents.
Russell was the oldest of the crew, and he and Dana shared a sense of adventure. “We were the ones who were first in line when Cedar Point opened a new roller coaster.” Dana smiled. The two frequently talked about skydiving together. “We had a you-might-as-well-try-it-once attitude.” Dana explained.
The daring siblings finally had a plan to jump, when Russell was diagnosed with colon cancer, which quickly spread to his liver and lungs.
“Our family always throws big 50th birthday celebrations. When I turned 50, Russell was so sick, I didn’t want to have a party; I thought it would be too much for him. But he knew it would be his last chance to see everyone, so they surprised me and had the party anyway. A month later, Russell passed away.“
“That’s him on the motorcycle in the picture. He loved riding it and he knew I did, too. He’d ride up from Noblesville and take me out on it.“ Dana explained.
Russell was a father of three and a friend to all, going on missions, building orphanages and churches, and helping others. “Every year, in Warsaw, Indiana, there’s a fundraiser in his name, and my sister and brother-in-law ride his motorcycle. It will always be in our family. “
Russell and Dana skydive together, after all.
“It was so important for me to take this picture with me, to bring him with me on my skydivE.“
“We knew the odds were high the picture wouldn’t make it. But my instructor and videographer knew why I was jumping and understood what the photo meant to me. They went out of their way to make it work.
“I secured the photo underneath my harness. I almost lost it at one point, but my tandem instructor grabbed it somehow, and helped me secure it.”
What about the skydive, itself?
As for the skydive itself, Dana said, “It was amazing. It was kind of scary falling out, but once I took a breath and calmed down, I just held onto my brother’s photo and we did the jump together.”
“Russell would have loved it. Absolutely loved it. As soon as we got down, he would have said, let’s go again.“
“I’m just so glad and so thankful that I was able to keep my promise.“