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Thread: Man who saved skydiver died of heart attack at 38

  1. #1
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    Man who saved skydiver died of heart attack at 38

    Man who saved skydiver died of heart attack at 38
    By Julia Rogers, Correspondent
    October 5, 2002

    A former Newbury Park man who suffered life-changing injuries after helping save a fellow skydiver during a 1996 jump died last week of a heart attack.

    Jim Ewald, 38, who became a quadriplegic after his accident, died Sept. 26 while working on his computer in his Apple Valley home, according to his family.

    "Jim suffered severe handicaps," said mother Sherry Ewald of Agoura Hills. "But he was never an invalid. He lived his life. He even did two more jumps after the accident. They had to be tandem jumps, but he jumped. When I'm not crying over his loss, I'm smiling because of his life."

    Family members are planing a memorial service for Ewald at 1 p.m. today at his sister's home in Newbury Park. A service was held earlier this week at Ewald's church in Apple Valley.

    "Jim was one of the most caring people I've ever met and that's not because I'm his mother," his mother said. "His main pleasure in life was helping people. Before the accident he saved two people from committing suicide just because he was there at the time. Since he was hurt, when he would go to the hospital for his check-ups, he would make it a point to go to the spinal cord injury ward and visit the new patients. He would talk to them and share his own experience with them. He was inspirational to a lot of people. He gave them hope."

    Ewald suffered his injuries when he saved a fellow skydiver from falling to her death. The diver went into a spin and he went to help her regain control. By the time he got his chute open, he was only 200 feet off the ground.

    "Witnesses said his chute opened on impact and it must have because his body was so broken," his mother said. "He could talk, and I know he remembered the accident because he would wake up gasping in the emergency room. It was a year before he could feed himself."

    Gradually Ewald was able to do more. He learned to get around with his electric wheel chair, he insisted on living by himself, he cooked, became proficient on the computer and he went wherever he wanted by bus.

    The family organized the local memorial for Ewald's friends.

    "When he was first hurt, they were so supportive and so loving," his mother said. "They organized blood drives and visited and never let him give up. He told me later that for the first three months he just wanted to die. It was too hard for him to accept his injuries. His friends helped him do that."

    Copyright 2002, Ventura County Star. All Rights Reserved.

    ==============================
    "It was once written "To thine own self be true". But how do we know who we really are? Every man must confront the monster within himself, if he is ever to find peace without. .." Outer Limits(Monster)



  2. #2
    In a split second he made a decision that ultimately cost him his own life while saving anothers.In my "book" the guy was a hero. I only hope he was recognized as such at his funeral.

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