When firefighter Austin Peck wrote his last wishes before passing away after a four-year battle with occupational cancer, he instructed his family to spread his ashes in a “cool way.” With a little inspiration from their friends, the Peck family decided to release Austin’s ashes in the sky. When they approached Skydive Arizona in Eloy with their request, the drop zone decided to go above and beyond and hosted a large event for the deceased 35-year-old father of two. Firebird Skydiving also chipped in and donated the flags, smoke and ash bag used during the event.
A crowd of more than 100 people gathered together in Eloy to watch as 10 of Austin’s family members made tandem skydives wearing “Falling for Austin” T-shirts. Austin’s father, Mark, was the last to jump, and a small crew of local professional skydivers escorted him. The tandem pair was encircled by red, white and blue smoke so those watching from below could see the moment when Austin’s ashes were released into the sky. Local firefighters then sounded off their lights and sirens as Mark and his instructor, Rich LaBarr, landed. The tandems were followed by demo jumpers Chazi Blacksher and Melanie Firth, who flew the flag of Arizona and the United States flag over the crowd.
Austin’s father described the event as “an amazing, amazing emotional release.”
George Hargis | C-44312
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