I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people through my limited involvement in this paramotor community. One of those individuals is Matt Woodworth. He has been one of the personalities that I have enjoyed following and watching on YouTube as his own progression through the sport has matured. I recently had a chance to join him for an impromptu fly in of sorts. After flying we had the chance to share dinner together and we exchanged stories about life and how we ended up where we were. I shared my story about my time in Iraq and subsequent founding of Resurgence PPG. This video is his response to the impact that my story had on his own view of me, veterans and social issues in general. I appreciate his perspective and how he shares our story. Enjoy
What a busy few weeks for Resurgence PPG. The beginning of April found me back at the Lake Wales Airport with the folks from Aviator PPG and the Paradigm Aerobatic Team. I was lucky enough to help them as they were preparing their equipment for the Sun 'N Fun Airshow in Lakeland FL the following week. It was a great experience to be in the company of some of the most talented pilots in the world. They were super accommodating and welcomed me with open arms. I am truly humbled by their friendship.
Once I returned from Florida I spent a few short weeks flying locally around the Charlotte area with some new paramotor friends. I was fortunate enough to participate in supporting the Independence Fund's First Annual Heroes Golf Classic at the Ballantyne Resort in Charlotte NC. Mark Huneycutt and I were fortunate enough to be able to fly over and around the resort sharing the joy and accessibility of the sport with all the attendees. It is a flight I won't soon forget.
As April slipped into May, I was on the road again heading to the Bad Apples Hodges Field Fly In down in Americus GA. This was an exceptional event put on for the first time by the Bad Apples club out of Georgia. The field was amazing, the flying fantastic and the people were awesome. This was exactly why I wanted to get into this amazing sport. We received plenty of friendly support from the pilots and friends at the fly in. It made my first flying experience at such an event super memorable.
Huge thanks to Eric Farewell, Travis Burns, Kyle Mooney, Mark Huneycutt, Matt Woodworth, Ross Gassaway, Andrew Solano, and everyone else that made the experience truly amazing.
We are looking forward to another fly in later this summer in Mountain City TN. Hope to see everyone there.
Blue Skies and God Bless
This image is of Todd Scandrett and Mark Huneycutt flying over the Ballantyne Resort and Golf Club in support of the Independence Fund Heroes Classic Golf Tournament, April 2018.
After months of planning, scheming, waiting and training, I am finally in the air as new paramotor pilot. The realized dream is one that I am so excited to share with so many others. The beauty and serenity of solo flight is absolutely amazing. The first flight at my home field, away from the security blanket of instructors was more nerve racking than my first training flight. Taking a deep breath, remembering what I had learned and having faith in my abilities quickly found me slipping the bonds of earth and taking flight once again.
Since that first flight back home, I have made another 13 successful flights and continued to improve my technique and confidence. This is such an amazing sport I truly hope to be able to share it with more and more veterans. Keep watching us and check out our Facebook and Instagram accounts to stay in touch. Blue Skies.
What a whirlwind of life we have experienced over the past two and a half months.
First Resurgence PPG made their official Paramotor community debut at Wings Over Winter 2018, hosted by Aviator PPG at the Lake Wales, FL airport. This was such a great event and one that we are so thankful that Aviator PPG hosted. We had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people and get our name out into the community so they understood our mission and focus of engaging adaptive veterans through this amazing sport.
Shortly after Wings Over Winter, Resurgence PPG was fortunate enough to sponsor our second nominee through the full pilot training course at Aviator PPG. Christian Cooper showed up like a superstar and did such an amazing job all the way through training. We are so excited to see his enthusiasm for getting into the air and looking forward to many great adventures that I am sure will come.
Unfortunately life happened to get in the way of some of our other progress as a family member had to have a major and unexpected surgery. The recovery process has been tough but we're making it. Much like the mission of Resurgence PPG, our focus now is building our own resiliency through rehabilitation and getting back on track.
Thank you to all of our supporters and donors. Without the support of you, our mission would never be met. Blue Skies and God Bless
Well it was a month of waiting, weather, scheduling conflicts, and life but Matty Rowan was finally able to get into the air today. The great folks at Aviator PPG were able to get him a total of 10 successful flights on a beautiful Florida day. Following the flights Matty was excited to say that his twin daughters were big fans of watching daddy go fly. It's awesome that he has another activity that even his little girls enjoy watching.
We are so excited for his progress and look forward to working closely with Matty and all of our future pilots as we expand our outreach to help our adaptive veteran community. Our next stop is the Wings Over Winter Fly In to be held at Aviator PPG in Lake Wales FL, Jan 5-7 2018. We'll be sure to get plenty of photos as we make our industry debut.
Congratulations again Matty, we're proud of you!!!
Resurgence PPG is fortunate to have gained our first Ambassador pilot, Matty Rowan. We came in contact with Matty while he was actually conducting his ground school training at Aviator PPG in an effort to become a Paramotor pilot. His story is amazing. He is a prior service Army Ranger who served multiple combat tours with the illustrious 75th Ranger Regiment. After his separation from active duty, he spent 5 years as a contractor, providing various levels of dignitary security in Iraq. Upon his return to the real world back here in the states, he was determined to have a 100% disability rating. His focus has since been on being a single father to three lovely daughters, and raising awareness of veteran related issues.
As is the true nature of the Army, Matty wanted to make sure to never leave a comrade behind. He made sure to nominate a battle buddy of his, that he felt was worthy of our scholarship. Resurgence PPG is happy to announce the winner of our Aviator PPG pilot course scholarship is Christian “Coop” Cooper. Coop served with distinction with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. He entered the private contractor world in 2004, providing everything from route security to dignitary protection. In 2010, he began his transition back to a normal life in the states and perfecting his own amazing artwork. Coop was also determined to have a 100% service connected disability. His transition has found him making beautiful freelance art work and spending time enjoying adventure hobbies such as kitesurfing and speed flying.
We at Resurgence PPG are so fortunate to have a true team of friends and brothers as we award our first scholarship. It is an honor for us to be able to give back to Christian Cooper for everything he has done for our country. It is an amazing demonstration of friendship and continued selfless service that Matty Rowan made sure to extend this opportunity to him. Both of these fine Americans are true heroes as they work to bring a focus to veteran issues, to include military transition support, PTSD and individual mental wellness.
As we look forward to making a positive impact on our veteran community, we ask for you to join us in supporting both Matty and Christian. Please donate and help us create an amazing experience for both these guys, and the many other service members that they hope are never left behind.
I am happy to announce that Resurgence PPG is now live and active. Our social media presence is active and we are building followers and supporters everyday. I'd ask you to go to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages and follow us. As a small start up nonprofit with a big dream ahead, we need all the help and exposure we can generate. The links to the pages can be found at the bottom of the donations page.
While you're at it, please share this site and our mission with others. Ask them to match your own donations to the cause. It will make an unbelievable impact on the lives of our adaptive warriors.
Stay tuned as we will be providing updates on our first scheduled event soon.
Blue Skies and God Bless
Resurgence PPG is a charity that provides a unique adaptive sports experience to wounded, disabled, ill , or challenged veterans. The question is does this really help?
As a new organization and charity the only experience I have to base my assumptions on are my own. To understand the vision, it takes understanding my story. I am a retired Army Major with 18 years of service to our great country. Growing up I had dreams of flying and my ultimate goal was to be an Army Aviator. Let's just say that the needs of the Army and my desire to do other things in college besides study found me commissioned into the Field Artillery. I loved my time around cannons and rockets but my dream was always to one day fly. While I was in college I began skydiving. This hobby provided such a great release and connection to aviation for me, I hoped it would never stop.
As my military career progressed and the war on terror intensified, I received orders for my first combat deployment like so many other service members. I found myself in Iraq serving as a Military Transition Team operations officer. The experience was one that so many others have faced in Iraq but what was different about my experience was my medical evacuation. In May of 2007, while playing ultimate football with my team I became a heat casualty. I quickly passed through the various symptoms of heat stress, heat cramps , and heat exhaustion. My team ran me over to the clinic on the FOB we lived on. Per procedures the medical team treated me for a heat related injury. IVs, ice packs, wet towels, all efforts to bring my core body temperature down. I was placed on limited duty for 48 hours in an effort to re-hydrate and recuperate . During that 48 hours I didn't feel as if I was actually recovering. I still felt bad and had some strange sensations in my chest. I talked to our team medic and he advised that I go back to the clinic for additional evaluation. Once back at the clinic I relayed my symptoms to the staff and they decided to take additional vital signs. To my surprise it was determined I had suffered a heart attack. Imagine my shock to find out, a 34 year old, combat arms officer, after being in country more than 11 months, facing all there is to face in combat, now being struck down because of a heart attack. I was in disbelief. Needless to say I was immediately medevaced to Germany and then on to Walter Reed in DC where they were finally able to clear the blockage in my heart.
Amazingly, even with a 100% blockage I survived. I had significant damage to the heart but I was alive. At this point my life turned into a regiment of rehabilitation and doctor visits. After a couple months in DC it was determined it was time to send me home. To my surprise my medical review board determined I could be retained for continued service. I was ecstatic. I was able to continue to serve the nation that I love. My next assignment found me as a BN XO for a unit that trained Navy personnel for the required combat tasks prior to being deployed to theater. I enjoyed the job and enjoyed being able to continue to serve. Unfortunately, during PT one morning , I suffered a second heart attack. The physical impact of the second heart attack was not nearly as severe as the emotional impact. Due to the damage to the heart after the first event, there was actually very little change to the heart after the second. Call it a blessing if you will. I knew that this meant another medical board and a not as favorable outcome.
I was transferred to the Warrior Transition Battalion at Ft. Bragg in order to go through my pending med board proceedings. While at the WTB I had the most detrimental event of my life. My heart went into a ventricular tachycardia rhythm, which like heart attacks can be fatal. This episode changed everything. My med board was put on hold and I was recommended for implantation of an ICD / pacemaker. As I like to call it, my "arc reactor". I went through surgery and had my arc reactor installed in 2012. My fate was sealed. For some reason the Army has no need for someone that has a chunk of titanium in their chest that is making sure they stay alive. So I was medically retired.
Once I was back home and living the life of a civilian I became pretty depressed. I guess it's part of the cycle of dealing with life changes as a 40 something year old guy. The Army no longer wanted me and my heart literally was not strong enough to let me work a real job. I ended up spending a lot of time not really doing anything. I was becoming a hermit in many ways. As is so common, I added pounds. A lot of pounds. Depressed and not really caring about much of anything any longer I found food to be a comforting friend.
Ultimately I stumbled across a Youtube video of some crazy kid (Tucker Gott) flying this lawn chair contraption up to 15,000'. I was vaguely familiar with paramotors from my skydiving days but I had no idea they could get that kind of altitude. My curiosity for something, anything, had returned. I began watching more and more videos of paramotoring. I engrossed myself in more research. Then I found "THE VIDEO". It was a video of Tommy Counihan, an amputee that was trained to do foot launched flights. At the end of video Tommy says "I am unstoppable". I thought that was an amazingly powerful statement to make.
It was this video that truly inspired me. I wanted to experience that freedom. I wanted to share that experience with so many other people. I signed up for training, but how would my health be affected? Understanding the importance of weight to performance of any aircraft, I decided I had to lose weight. I began a very strict and regimented routine. In just a few short months I had lost 40 pounds. I was feeling much better, I was closing in on my goal weight, and for the first time in a long time, I would actually be able to pass the Army weight standards without having to be taped. I was energized. More importantly a recent echo cardiogram shows that my heart has recovered some function and is in the best shape it has been in since the heart attack. All positives and all looking up.
Realizing what the prospect of solo flight has meant for me, I figured there had to be others out there with a similar desire. I believe there are service members that are stuck in that same place I was in. They don't have that direction, they don't have the motivation to push themselves to move forward. I want to be able to share my passion by helping those that were like me. There is so much beauty and majesty that surrounds us everyday, sometimes you just have to get in the air above it to truly see it.
That is why I am here, and that is why Resurgence PPG was born. If you are interested in learning to fly or know a service member that could benefit from this experience please drop us a line.