Unexpected Opportunity

I came back from an appointment in Early January and Debbie, our accounting coordinator, asked me to come into Chris’s office. Of course, you never want to get called in to the boss’s office but this time it was so Chris could see my reaction. A National Guard recruiter, who participated in Disability Mentoring Day for the first time last year nominated me to ride on a Black Hawk helicopter. My first reaction was shock. My first thought was there is no way I am going to do this because I hate to fly. However, I knew it was an opportunity that few people ever get, so I decided I would do it. In the back of my mind, I thought maybe I won’t be accepted. On January 17, I got confirmation that I would be flying on the Black Hawk.

I had one week to get divine intervention, a major snowstorm, or something that could stop this from happening. For a brief second I thought the government shut down might be the answer but at 10:00 on January 24 I was at HCC ready, or at least, as ready as I was going to be for this experience. First, we got a briefing about the Kansas National Guard. The Kansas National Guard was established in the late 1850’s and has played a part in every conflict America has been in since that time. I further learned that the National Guard is the only branch of the military that has two responsibilities:  to protect the state and their federal responsibilities.

The briefing was over and it was time to ride the helicopter. It would be a little while before I would be riding though because I was in the third group to go up. I was able to watch as the first two rounds took place. I noticed how much wind the rotors on the helicopter caused. I was quite far from the helicopter and it still made me step back when it started. Then, I realized I had better keep my mouth closed or who knows what kind of debris might get in there when that wind blew everything around. After, groups one and two were finished; it was our turn in group three. I was amazed how little room there was in the helicopter. I almost had to bend completely over when I was getting to my seat. I also noticed that it was very loud and vibrated constantly. I didn’t even realize we were moving because of the vibrations until I felt us start going up. While they could have done a lot of dips and things like that, they didn’t and my ride was very smooth and enjoyable. After about 10 to 15 minutes, the ride was over and we were back on the ground.

Before this, had anyone ask me if it was something I wanted to do, my answer would have been “NO”. Now that I have done it, I have been asked if I would do it again if I got the chance, and my answer to that is “yes”. I want to thank George at the Kansas National Guard for nominating me for this opportunity, it was one of the most fun things I have done in a while. Finally, to everyone else I say, if you get an opportunity to do something, you should try it because it might not be at all what you expected. Don’t pass on an opportunity just because you are unsure of what it might be like.

-Roger F.