Name: Alex Hawrysko
What is your role at Skydive Orange?
I work in manifest, do miscellaneous tasks for whomever needs them (mostly Pam), and plan parties (highly essential).
How long have you been in the sport?
I’ve been in the sport since 2015, I don’t jump very often anymore but I’m always around causing trouble.
How did you first learn about skydiving/what brought you to the sport?
I’ve always known about skydiving however it is one of those things that my mother told me I wasn’t allowed to do until after she was dead. Well………………just kidding my mom is alive and well, and even went on a skydive! When I was a freshman at Virginia Tech a good friend of mine asked if I wanted to come to Orange for a tandem and to spend the weekend. I immediately said yes, showed up the next day and met an incredible group of people. I did a tandem with a guy who is now a huge part of my family (OJ), spent the rest of the weekend partying with an amazing, diverse group of people. I have been here almost every week since!
Tell us about your most memorable skydive to date.
Definitely my most memorable skydive was my Mrs. Bill with Atom. I was pretty inexperienced and Larry gave me that disapproving look we all know and love later when he found out how few jumps I had. But this was after watching the video and congratulating us for a pretty epic jump. I still remember the feeling of watching Atom fly his canopy and me just trying to hold on and not kill us both – but hey! It worked out. PSA I do not recommend trying this as a new jumper or with an inexperienced canopy pilot.
Tell us about your most rewarding skydive to date.
My most rewarding skydive is probably my recurrency jump last summer with Dave Rhea. I had been out of the sport for at least a year due to an unrelated injury so being able to come back with one of my good friends was awesome. It’s pretty hard to be nervous when you have cool and confident Dave smiling at you in the sky.
What is your favorite thing about the skydiving community?
Hands down the people. The skydiving community is made up of the most diverse group of weirdos in the world. We’re talking people from literally every profession, all parts of the world, and insanely unique backgrounds. All of these people come together to drop themselves out of a plane and I think that’s pretty amazing. It’s like having one giant extended family all across the country. Skydive Orange especially feels like a family, Pam and Larry are quick to check up on everyone and are always willing to help out if they can. It’s no wonder many people call Orange home.
What is the biggest challenge you’re battling in light of COVID-19?
I’m still working towards a degree at Virginia Tech, so all of our classes being online has been challenging. I’m majoring in Neuroscience and it is pretty disappointing to have to watch videos of our professor performing lab work and not being able to be hands on. Plus all of the research internships have been cancelled for the summer which is a bummer. But hey, you guys will see a lot more of me!
There are a lot of challenges with Coronavirus, but what are the silver linings about all of this that you hadn’t anticipated?
I started a garden! I’ve never really had time and I don’t know that I have a “green thumb” but I’ve always been interested in growing my own vegetables so we’re giving it a try. I get really stressed out during the school year in general, so I’ve taken this extra time to help calm my mind. Plus my dog, Bean Boi Mav, is so excited to spend all of our time together that I can’t help but smile. We should all be more like Beans.
Everyone is facing challenges. What companies or people have impressed you during these challenging times?
Skydive Orange continues to impress me. They are doing everything in their power to help the full time staff, make sure we have a dropzone to come back to, and are even supporting other local businesses at the same time! Pam and Larry continue to be an inspiration to us all and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for Skydive Orange.
Aside from skydiving, what are you most looking forward to doing when all of this is over?
Going on a mobile home road trip with Alfredo and the animals. We’ll probably still be isolated, but isolated in natureeeeeee. (:
If you could recommend one song for everyone to listen to, what would it be?
Starman by Bowie is a favorite. The entire Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars album is exceptional. If you’ve been around the old side of the dropzone, you’ve probably heard Alfredo and I blast it on vinyl many times.
Who/what is your spirit animal?
I don’t know for sure, but if I had to pick I’m going with a jellyfish. Just floating around all majestic, stinging the hell of people for getting too close, the thought warms my heart and puts a twinkle in my eye. Or maybe a praying mantis, because, you know…
Tell us about a memory that instantly makes you smile?
Pretty much anytime someone at the DZ says “Hail Satan”, it started as a joke between a couple of us and so many people have caught on it makes me laugh every time.
The largest tandem skydiving center near Northern Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.