By: Sarah Clark, Reporter/Photographer
Sullivan County Democrat
DELAWARE — The dew collected on the grass as the sun rose upon the Delaware River. This past weekend, the Center for Discovery hosted Paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina to honor their service with activities across the county.
On June 23, the Center for Discovery took the Paratroopers to Lander’s River Trips at Skinner’s Falls to canoe down the river to Narrowsburg. Executive Director of the 82nd Airborne Association Bill Bauer also joined the soldiers on their trip to Sullivan County, and he and the 16 Paratroopers enjoyed the five mile trip down the river. For the most part, the trip was peaceful with the exception of the rapids, which aggressively tipped a few Paratroopers and their canoes over.
“We’re looking forward just to welcome the soldiers, take good care of them, and thank them for their service,” Center for Discovery Vice President for Development Richard Humleker said.
The soldiers came from all over the country to stay at the Center for Discovery, and the Paratroopers enjoyed dinner, biking, hiking and a concert, to name a few activities they did. “They are remarkable young folks,” said Humleker.
Paratroopers that canoed down the Delaware were Tressa Delisle, Samuel Bednar, Michael Holsapple, Jacob Mozingo, David Newton, Lee Brown, Jaime Rullo, Fabian Allen, Izaiah Bond, Thomas Miller, Angel Fuentes, William Delay, Marquis Crockett, Miles Tarron, Philip Spencer, and Ashton Frank.
“It’s good to get out and be able to decompress and actually be in a calming, relaxing environment,” Soldier Will Delay said. He has been in the Army for nine years and has gone on multiple tours in Afghanistan. “It’s been an amazing experience,” Delay added.
“Overall the 82nd has been pretty good, there’s a lot of opportunities,” Soldier Philip Spencer said. He has been in the army for five years, and enjoyed his trip in Sullivan County, which exceeded his expectations in terms of what the weekend trip would be. “They’ve been amazing,” Spencer said of the Center for Discovery.
The Paratroopers put on their life jackets and stepped into their canoes, and began to drift down the river towards Narrowsburg. Only a few boats tipped over into the water, and one Paratrooper had to canoe backwards until he passed the raging rapids. When they reached Lander’s River Trips in Narrowsburg, their faces lit up with smiles and laughter as they greeted each other at the shore.
“It’s been an enlightening experience,” Soldier Tressa Delisle stated. She also states how she learned from the different people she met over the weekend, and how the experience with the Center for Discovery was great and relaxing. “It’s definitely really great to just getting to see what they do and interacting with everybody,” said Delisle.
“This place is great,” Soldier Miles Tarron stated. “It seems like they’re doing a lot of great things here,” Tarron said.
The Paratroopers remarked about how the experience was humbling, and they enjoyed each activity the Center for Discovery had planned for them out of appreciation for their service for America.
The original article can be found at the Sullivan Democrat website here.