For Newtown High School 2012 graduate and current Southern Connecticut State University student Danielle Ford and Newtown Middle School technology education teacher Don Ramsey, June 14 will include “an adventure for a healing community.”
The adventure will be in the form of skydiving from more than 10,000 feet in the air over the crystal blue inlets of Newport, R.I., at 1 pm. Residents and supporters are invited by Danielle and Mr Ramsey to be there for their landing at Skydive Newport, 211 Airport Access Road, Middletown. Mr Ramsey and Danielle have named the event, “Skydive for Newtown: An Adventure for a Healing Community.”
Both Danielle and Mr Ramsey say they hope the day will promote healing for the town following the tragic loss of life at Sandy Hook School on 12/14. For Danielle the day will also be a chance to honor her mother, Sandy Hook School teacher Dawn Ford, who Danielle said has shown courage following the events of 12/14. Mr Ramsey said the event will also honor all of Newtown’s teachers. The date of the event, June 14, also coincides with the six-month anniversary of 12/14.
Mr Ramsey and Danielle also said they are hoping the skydive will help raise money for the Newtown Alumni Fund. All are welcome to be at Newport for the skydive, Mr Ramsey said, but for those who cannot make it on that day, donations can also be made to the Newtown Alumni Fund by mail PO Box 3217, Newtown CT,06470, with checks made payable to Newtown Rotary — SHES Fund and a memo note of Skydive Newtown.
According to a flyer for the skydive, Mr Ramsey and Danielle chose to raise money for the Newtown Alumni Fund to “promote healing for the entire community of Newtown. This fund, allied with the Newtown Rotary Club, has an expressed mission to ‘promote restoration and healing of the quality of life in the Newtown community by connecting students and teachers with Newtown’s alumni and the greater world through developing and funding activities that promote psychological healing.’”
Flyers were posted around town, and Danielle said Butcher’s Best, which her father, Steve Ford, owns, also offered flyers there.
Other than spreading the word about the skydive, Mr Ramsey and Danielle said they have not prepared overly much for their dive.
“We have a great pair of sunglasses, sky diving caps, and we’re just looking forward to it,” Mr Ramsey said.
A few years ago, Danielle said, Mr Ramsey shared the story of his first skydiving experience with her, but June 14 will mark her first skydiving adventure.
“Skydiving is something I have always wanted to do,” said Danielle. “We thought this would be a great opportunity to do something that we have always wanted to do together and to honor people who had to go through the tragedy.”
Mr Ramsey said the skydive is a “somewhat dramatic expression” of how they feel for Newtown, but, he said, “Many people have it in their hearts. They want to help in some way, and that manifests differently for different people.”
Skydiving is Mr Ramsey and Danielle’s way of expressing that same feeling.
“It just seems natural to do it in this fashion, because it is a little dramatic, but it is something that could perhaps draw attention to a good cause, such as the Newtown Alumni Fund,” Mr Ramsey said.
Mr Ramsey said the entire Ford family means a lot to him. The family epitomizes what it means to be good citizens, Mr Ramsey said.
“They have always demonstrated love for this community in so many ways,” said Mr Ramsey. “Each of them is so kind, compassionate, and authentic.”
Mr Ramsey also said he admires Danielle.
“Even in the seventh and eighth grade she had such compassion and kindness,” Mr Ramsey said. “She is exactly the same way today, but it is really remarkable to watch her grow and how much she meant to me as a teacher, way back then, and how much it means to me to be able to participate with her in this [on June 14].”
Danielle said it was nice to be able to stay connected to Mr Ramsey over the years through seeing him around town.