I can recall, as a child, dreaming of human flight. I have always been curious about the world around me and thought that with this ability, I could run a few feet and take flight into the air – I could have true freedom to explore anything at anytime, anywhere. Even if I didn’t have a firm grasp on the understanding of gravity at the time, I knew that I was both earthbound and here to stay. My yearning to explore the world would stay with me through adulthood while my dream of human flight was slowly fading. Flashback to 2010 when I came across a video on YouTube. For the first time, I saw a man in a wingsuit. He wasn’t just falling, he was flying, and just feet away from a mountain at that. I felt something when I saw that video (I even recall mimicking the movements in it) and I knew that this would be my human flight. I began researching what would be required of me to join these human birds and on December 30th of 2011, I made my first skydive. The video attached to this post is my first jump from a helicopter and marks jump number 110, which means that I am only 90 jumps away from beginning my training as a wingsuit pilot. Skydiving has been an incredible journey so far and I can only imagine what else awaits me in the sky.
Be your adventure
In August of last year, we partnered with the San Antonio Area Foundation to create and manage a scholarship fund in my sister’s name. To date, with the assistance of people from around the globe, we have raised nearly $90,000 dollars for the fund. Now, the San Antonio Area Foundation is accepting applications for women whose course of study is sports journalism or broadcasting.
Criteria is as follows:
Student must be female, be studying for a career in journalism with a preference for sport journalism or broadcasting, have at least a 2.5 GPA, and be a junior or senior student in college.
The deadline to apply for the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship is March 1.
You can help by forwarding this to your friends or by making a donation here.
Thank you for your continued support
Media Contact: Tanya Sammis, Sammis & Ochoa
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Open for Application
Prospective recipients must apply for the scholarship by March 1
At a glance:
· The Jessica Redfield Scholarship Fund and the San Antonio Area Foundation are currently accepting applications for the inaugural Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship
· The scholarship application deadline is Fri., March 1, 2013
· Fund was established in memory of Jessica Ghawi, one of the victims of the Aurora, CO shootings
February 13, 2013 (SAN ANTONIO) – The Jessica Redfield Scholarship Fund and the San Antonio Area Foundation have announced that the foundation is currently accepting scholarship applications for the inaugural Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship. Applications must be submitted for consideration by Fri., March 1, 2013. Prospective recipients may apply at www.saafdn.org/Scholarships2013.
“To date, with the assistance of people from around the globe, we have raised nearly $90,000 for the scholarship fund,” said Jordan Ghawi, Jessica’s brother. “We know this scholarship will allow her dreams to live on through others who live life as vibrantly as she did.”
The prospective recipient must:
· Be a female
· Study for a career in journalism with preference for sport journalism or broadcasting
· Be attending school full-time
· Have at least a 2.5 GPA
· Student must be entering their junior or senior year of college.
“Jessica was passionate about life, people, sports and catching her dreams of working in the field of sports journalism,” said Sandy Phillips, Jessica’s mother. “We look forward to sharing her hopes and dreams with a young woman who is passionately seeking great dreams of her own.”
To learn more about the scholarship fund or to donate, visit www.saafdn.org/JRGScholarship.
ABOUT THE JESSICA GHAWI SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships for aspiring sports journalists in honor of the life and dreams of Jessica Ghawi. Jessica’s life was taken far too soon in the Aurora, CO shootings on July 20, 2012. This official fund was set up by her brother, Jordan Ghawi, and her mother, Sandy Phillips. The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund will endow scholarships to help send up-and-coming sports talent to reach their dreams through the field of sports journalism. The fund is managed by the San Antonio Area Foundation. For more information, visit www.saafdn.org/JRGscholarship. Stay updated with the foundation on Facebook and Twitter.
ABOUT THE SAN ANTONIO AREA FOUNDATION
The San Antonio Area Foundation, established in 1964, is San Antonio’s community foundation, which makes grants from funds established by individuals, families, businesses or other entities to support charitable causes in our community. The Area Foundation manages more than $220 million in assets and has distributed more than $200 million for scholarships and grants to educate youth, preserve the environment, protect animals, fund research and provide services that enhance the quality of life for people living in and around San Antonio. For more information, visit www.saafdn.org. ###
From our hotel in Kirkjubæjarklaustur (try pronouncing that), we traveled to Jökulsárlón glacier lagoon and followed it to the ocean where we met a curious seal. While on our return to Kirkjubæjarklaustur, we found a waterfall that we decided to explore. I again apologize for the brevity. This video should speak for itself.
Paul and I woke up at 0600 and by 0645, we had begun our four hour journey from Reykjavik to Skaftafell National Park in our 3-cylinder Volkswagen Polo. We arrived in Skaftafell and climbed Europe’s largest glacier. This included some ice climbing of 100+ feet. Below is a rough edit of our time on the glacier.
Short update on our trip.
Today, Paul and I traveled to Þingvellir National Park to dive at Silfra. Per Wikipedia, Silfa is a “rift that is part of the divergent tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates”. Essentially, we were diving between two continents. The water in Silfra is between 1 and 4 degrees Celsius and comes from a glacier 40 kilometers away. It takes the water approximately 30 years to travel from the glacier to the dive site. The result is an incredibly clarity that is both brilliant and unrivaled. Paul and I donned our drysuits and went in. Unfortunately, I was unable to complete even the first dive as the water temperature began to affect me (very frustrating).
Below is a VERY rough edit of some of the footage we collected on the dive.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Foundation to Celebrate Jessica Ghawi
Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund has partnered with the San Antonio Area Foundation to provide scholarships for aspiring sports journalists
At a glance:
• The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund was established in memory and celebration of Jessica Ghawi, one of the 12 victims of the Aurora, Colo. Shootings on July 20, 2012
• The San Antonio Area Foundation will manage the scholarship fund and the awarding of the scholarships across the nation
• Scholarships will be awarded in Jessica Ghawi’s name to students aspiring in the field of sports journalism
August 14, 2012 (SAN ANTONIO) – The family of Jessica Ghawi has selected the San Antonio Area Foundation to manage the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund. The fund was established in memory and celebration of Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sports journalist. The scholarships provided by this fund will be awarded nationwide to selected women seeking to study sports journalism and broadcasting.
Donations can be made to the scholarship fund by visiting https://www.saafdn.org/JRGScholarship. For those desiring to donate by check, donations can be sent to 110 Broadway #230, San Antonio, TX 78205, with a notation for Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund. The Area Foundation will manage the scholarship fund and the awarding of the scholarships. In less than one month, the fund has raised more than $45,000 in donations.
“Jessica chased her dreams,” said her brother and co-founder of the scholarship fund, Jordan Ghawi. “Our hope is that this will inspire others to do the same.”
Metro State University of Denver, the school that Ghawi was attending, notified the Ghawi family last week that the university will be awarding her with an honorary bachelor’s degree at this December’s commencement ceremony.
Ghawi was a vivacious, aspiring sports journalist with inestimable courage, an enthusiastic drive and a passion for hockey. She worked several jobs in order to continue her educational path in sports journalism and worked a variety of internships to soak in knowledge and find the best path to make a positive impact in the world of sports. Ghawi moved from San Antonio to Colorado to save money to help keep chasing her dream of being a sports broadcaster.
Her life was taken far too soon in the Aurora shootings on July 20, 2012. This official fund was set up by her brother, Jordan Ghawi, and her mother, Sandy Phillips. For more information, visit www.jessicaredfieldfoundation.org. To donate, visit www.saafdn.org. Scholarship applicant eligibility requirements will be announced at a later date.
ABOUT THE JESSICA GHAWI SCHOLARSHIP FUND
The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund was created to provide scholarships for aspiring sports journalists in honor of the life and dreams of Jessica Ghawi. The Jessica Redfield Ghawi Scholarship Fund will endow scholarships to help send up-and-coming sports talent to reach their dreams through the field of sports journalism or broadcasting. For more information, visit www.jessicaredfieldfoundation.org or www.saafdn.org. Stay updated with the foundation on Facebook and Twitter. ###
Media Contact: Tanya Sammis, Sammis & Ochoa
P: 210.390.4284 C: 512.431.8940
“Grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out.
The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”
-Reddit user GSnow.
11.27.1987 – 7.20.2012
We have now established the Official Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. We also would like to note that there are 11 other families who have lost loved ones and funds of equal importance will be setup in their names.
At approximately 0215 CST, I received an hysterical, and almost unintelligible, phone call from my mother stating that my sister, Jessica Ghawi, had been shot while attending the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Denver, CO. I was able to contact the man that was with my sister, mutual friend Brent, who stated that they were in the theatre when an incendiary device was fired into the crowd and that shots rang out immediately afterwards. Brent further stated that he took two rounds and that my sister took one round followed by an additional round which appeared to strike her in the head. At this time, I do not have confirmation that she is alive or dead. Brent has been transported with non-life threatening injuries to a local hospital. I am on the next flight out of San Antonio to Denver and have already contact Aurora PD, operating jurisdiction, as next of kin.
I will update this as more information becomes available to me.
0510: NBC news reporting 14 confirmed fatalities and 50 wounded
0630: Flying solo on SWA flight 218 to Denver
0745 (local): In Denver and on the way to Aurora to see Brent in the hospital.
0830 (local): Arrived at Children’s Hospital of Denver to see the man who was with Jessica. Difficult time obtaining access to see him due to heightened security. He is stable after being shot at least once. He was able to relay what happened in the theatre.
1000 (local): I again want to thank everyone who has reached out to myself and my family. A few people I want to thank specifically: Rackspace, Vid Luther, Nan Palmero, City of Seguin Fire Department (for going to visit my mother and bringing her breakfast) and Peter Burns for acting as our family liaison.
1015 (local): This is what I have been told by Brent, who was with my sister at the time of the shooting. This will be the only statement that I will make on the events surrounding what appears to be her death.
Jessica and Brent were seated in the middle portion of the theatre when a device was thrown into the theatre that produced a “hissing” sound. The theatre than began to fill with smoke which is when patrons began to move from their seats. At that time, shots were fired. Brent and Jessica immediately dropped to a prone position for cover. Jessica advised multiple times for someone to call 911, which Brent immediately attempted to do. Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent, began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head. He further stated that Jessica presented with agonal respirations. Brent then took what may have been his only chance to escape the line of fire and exited the structure where he then contacted my mother. Brent’s actions are nothing but heroic. The veracity of any other statements not issued by myself or Peter Burns should be questioned.
1055 (local): I have yet to be contacted directly from Aurora PD. After getting the runaround from APD, I was able to speak with someone within the department who states that the deceased have yet to been identified.
1118 (local): Have established a media “base camp” to act as a family PIO with Peter Burns in LoDo.
1227 (local): Have received word from the coroner’s office that Jessica has indeed died of injuries sustained in the shooting.
1315 (local): Established a temporary base camp at the local NBC affiliate with Peter Burns. Going to continue to give interviews until the victims names are remembered and not the coward of a shooter.
1405 (local): For those of you who may not know, my sister was also involved in the mass shooting at the Eaton Centre mall a little over one month ago. Her thoughts on the incident can be read here: http://jessicaredfield.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/late-night-thoughts-on-the-eaton-center-shooting/
Also, to show what type of person she was: http://youtu.be/SY8l1gZTPoA
1516 (local): What will you remember most of Jessica?
1600 (local): Heading to Aurora for the first time.
1616 (local): Coroner now has me listed as next of kin. Official cause of death is severe cranial cerebral trauma caused by a penetrating GSW to the head. Essentially, she died quickly and painlessly. Now we will begin the process of bringing her home to celebrate her life.
1515 (local): Will be on CNN with Anderson Cooper at 6pm mountain, 7 central.
2000 (local): The outpouring of support for my family is overwhelming. Hearing from people from all of the world. My family thanks you. Let us continue to focus on the victims.
2005 (local): Been doing interviews all day in the name of my sister and all the other victims. Going to interview with Greta Van (with Peter Burns) followed by Erin Burnett.
2200 (local): Peter and I will not be fielding anymore interviews tonight. Thank you so much to ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, and CBS. Special thanks to Anderson Cooper. You have all brought Jessica’s story forward. We can only hope that we can do the same with the rest of the victims.
2208 (local): Recevivng word that another victim has been identified. Alex Sullivan died of wounds sustained in the shooting. It was his 27th birthday. It appears that he leaves behind his wife and extended family. I look forward to hearing about his life through his family and friends. Let us remember his name.
Day Two 7/21
1015 (local): Meeting with a funeral home at 11 to discuss bringing Jessica home.
1025 (local): We will be declining all interviews today in hopes that the media will grant the other victims of this tragedy the same amount of airtime that they gave Jessica yesterday. Let us learn the stories, and celebrate the lives, of Alex Sullivan (27), Micayla Medek (23), Veronica Moser (6), Matt McQuinn (27), Jesse Childress (29), John Larimer (27), John Blunk, AJ Boik, Alexander Teves, and Rebecca Ann Wingo.
1215 (local): Jessica will be released from the coroner’s office on Monday. We are having her cremated in Denver and will fly her remains back home. I am expecting this to be competed by Wednesday.
1330 (local): Just spoke with Brent’s mother. She states that Brent is currently in surgery and has been doing well with the exception of a low grade fever.
1420 (local): I can now confirm that we will be holding a memorial service for my sister in San Antonio on the 28th.
1700 (local): We now know all of the names of those killed. They are as follows:
Jessica Ghawi, 24
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress, 29
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
John Blunk, 26
AJ Boik, 18
John Larimer USN, 27
Matt McQuinn, 27
Micayla Medek, 23
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
Alex Sullivan, 27
Alexander Teves, 24
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
My thoughts are with you, your families, and the lives that you have all touched. I also want to thank the physicians at the area hospitals who are still caring for critically injured.
1925 (local): Spoke with Brent’s mom who states that he is out of surgery and doing well. He has additional surgeries scheduled in the upcoming week. He is staying strong and fighting on.
Day Three 7/22
1045 (local): Read the victim’s stories. Learn their names and celebrate their lives here.
1245 (local): Meeting with the other families. Their strength as individuals and a whole is amazing. The world has lost 12 amazing individuals.
1400 (local): I have had the honor to meet all 11 families. Their courage and strength, both individually and as a whole, can not be expressed in words.
1630 (local): I have met with White House Press Secretary Carney and now have his assurance that he will not speak the suspect’s name in the press. Keeping the focus on the victims.
1800 (local): Met with President Obama after he had sat down with the rest of the families. Not only was he there to express his condolences to them, but he wanted to learn who they were. He has offered any and all services to the families. President Obama sat down with Peter, Jacob, and I and immediately began talking about Jessica. He already knew about her and we made sure that he left knowing more. He has also provided assurance that he will not.mention the suspect’s name in the press.
1815 (local) Chief Mackey (another incredible man) with APD has provided us with an escort to see Brent at a neighboring hospital. Thank you APD.
1830 (local): Have met with Brent and his parents again. Brent was able to take his first steps since the shooting today. He is doing well and is slowly recovering. More surgeries are scheduled for this week. Hoping to have him transferred to San Antonio by the end of the week. If you would like to assist with offsetting his medical expenses, you can do so here.
Day Four 7/23
1320 (local): Jessica’s memorial service will be held this Saturday at Community Bible Church in San Antonio. Memorial starts at 10am. 2477 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio TX 78232
We have now established the Official Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. Please also remember that my sister is just one of eleven other victims.
Day Five 7/24
0800 (local): I met with my brothers and sisters of the Aurora Fire Department today. Specifically the first in units, Station #8 and Station #2. These men and women are heroes and are directly responsible for the proliferation of life within that theatre. Let us also remember that these brave men and women have taken part in a life altering event. I hope the community will continue to support them.
It is no secret that Sigur Rós is one of my all-time favorite bands. In 2007, I purchased a DVD documentary following the band as they toured around their home country of Iceland in the Summer of 2006. This film exposed me to a world of which I had previously never experienced. The majestic and moon-like landscape immediately captured my attention and sowed a seed that has blossomed over the past four years. So after months of planning and years of yearning, it is time to harvest.
This August, from the 20th-27th, Paul Voccio and I will be exploring Iceland in the most unique ways that we could think of. How many people have seen Iceland from 13,500ft while traveling towards the earth at 120mph? What about viewing the country from it’s tallest peak measuring in at 6,921 feet? Know anyone who has scaled Europe’s largest glacier with only ice picks, crampons, and a rope? How about seeing Iceland from 100 feet under water while simultaneously swimming between the North American and Eurasian continental plates? DEtourism at its best!
So after months of planning, here is our current itinerary:
August 18th: Depart Sat-ATL. ATL-JFK. JFK-KEF.
August 19th: Open
August 21st: Paul and I both got our PADI open water diver certifications so that we can dive at Silfra
August 22nd: Glacier hike and ice climbing
August 23rd: Climbing Hvannadalshnúkur, Iceland’s tallest point.
August 25th: Skydiving in Hella and visiting Reykjavik’s world famous discos
August 26th: Rest and Gulfoss
August 27th: Return to reality. KEF-JFK. JFK-SAT.
Needless to say, August can’t come soon enough.
It is hard to believe that July will mark the 7th year that I have been in emergency services. During this time, I have been asked on numerous occasions “what is it like to save a life?” This question, without pause, elicits the same answer each time, “I haven’t”. This is true, I personally have never saved a life, as it has always been the culmination of the hard work of a team. Questions such as this frequently prompt me to reflect back on these calls and allow me to ask of myself “what more can you do?”
Recently, while perusing my favorite online community, Reddit, I ran across a blog post regarding one of our members. The blog post revealed that the member, who had just been hired on with Reddit, was recently diagnosed with leukemia. Attached to this entry were a few links for those that wanted to help. I was interested in getting screened, and subsequently entered, into a national bone marrow database. Reddit, partnered with Be The Match, are offering free home screening tests, which normally run $100 (covers the cost of adding a donor to the registry. I immediately signed up for the screening. The online form took less than 15 minutes to complete and from there I agreed to be entered into the database where I will remain until 61 years of age. There remained one last step, the actual screening. Two weeks after registering, I received an envelope in the mail. Contained within the envelope were four buccal swabs. These are essentially elongated q-tips that allow for simple self-administered sampling of DNA cells within a patient’s cheek (as sometimes seen in television crime dramas). After a painless sampling, I placed the swabs inside of the pre-paid envelope and sent them away for their testing. I realize that the chances of being a match are rather unfavorable (an estimated 1 in 540), but I am ready to ameliorate, if not save, the life of another with a simple donation of marrow.
Here is how you too can get screened for free today: BeTheMatch.com
If prompted, enter promo code: PIF070109