Local Waynedale resident Virginia Badger tries skydiving
Virginia (Scott) Badger was originally from South Whitley. She came to Fort Wayne in 1950 when she married Roy Badger. Virginia and Roy had four children, Patti Murzyn, Sue McLeod of Fort Wayne, Brian of Houston, Texas and Scott of Auburn. Roy passed away in 2001 after 51 great years together.
They moved to the Avalon Addition in 1973. She retired from Lincoln National Life in 1992 after 24 years of service. Virginia said, “I didn’t really like retirement so I took a job at the Pizza Hut corporate office as the afternoon receptionist for a year, and now I’ve been there 14 years.” She also worked weekends at the Lincoln Museum until their recent closure.
Virginia was going to Houston to take the two youngest grandchildren to Florida and Disney World for a week and then back to Houston to skydive with her older granddaughter, Ashley Badger, who requested to skydive as a graduation present. Virginia requested that she wait till she got there and she would jump with her.
They scheduled the jump for Saturday, April 26th. They met with an instructor, Jim Culhain at SkyDive-Houston and after a half-hour lesson, they loaded up the plane and climbed up 13,000 feet through the scattered clouds into the beautiful blue Houston skies. Before jumping, the instructor told her to watch for their shadows on the clouds as there would be a rainbow outlining their silhouette. Both Virginia and Ashley were jumping tandem. Virginia told Jim Culhain that she was 76 years old and Jim said, “I never ask a lady her age but just so you know it, I’m 74.” Prior to the jump Jim had instructed her how to pull in on the canopy cords to steer and also to help in the landing.
When they went out the plane there was about 65 seconds of freefall time. Her instructor was right; during the more than one minute of free fall, as their shadow fell upon the clouds, their silhouette was surrounded by a halo of colored light. After falling at 120 miles per hour, they slowed their descent at 6,000 feet by pulling the ripcord and deploying the parachute. They began a six-minute exciting colorful canopy descent to a soft, on-target landing. After landing Virginia received a certificate from her instructor verifying that she had made a Tandem training skydive.
Virginia is back home now, working at the Pizza Hut Office in the afternoons and volunteering at the InAsMuch ministry at Broadway Christian Church in the mornings and getting her exercise as a Mt. Calvary Church walker. If that isn’t enough she has her 10 grand kids and 3 great grandkids to keep her on her toes.
When I asked her about how she stays so healthy, she said, “The Lord has been very good to me and has blessed me richly.”