Event lets wounded warriors go skydiving

Posted at 10:30 PM, May 19, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-19 22:30:31-04

SUFFOLK, Va. (WTVR) -- Wounded warriors and skydivers from all over the region were in Suffolk Saturday for the Jumping For a Purpose event.

Participants prepared for their jumps surrounded by hundreds of supporters at the Suffolk Executive Airport.

The free fall gives allows the wounded to briefly forget about their wounds.

First-time jumpers and wounded warriors said they were grateful for the opportunity.

“I was on a foot patrol on May 5, 2010, stepped on 10 pounds of homemade explosives with what used to be my right foot,” said Tyler Southern.

Southern, who was wounded in Afghanistan, and uses humor to cope and stay positive.

“Physically was the hard part, mentally it was just, I attack everything with jokes," he said. "...we have shirts made, I had a blast in Afghanistan [and] if you keep staring they may grow back.”

Miss Virginia International Amber Wandtke also chatted with the veterans. She is a petty officer first class in the Navy and is also married to a Marine veteran.

Wandtke’s platform is post-traumatic stress disorder awareness.

The event benefited the Chesapeake-based veterans' charity Wounded Wear.