After I got back from New York, the requests for interviews slowed down but several noteworthy articles did come out. The LA Times did an in-depth piece on the rescue and so did Reader’s Digest magazine. These two print pieces are my favorite ones because they tell more than just my side of the story.
The drop zone started receiving cards and letters from around the world addressed to me. These contained everything from copies of the newspaper coverage of the rescue to cards of congratulations from well wishers. Some of the cards contained cash, usually a five or ten dollar bill with a request that I treat myself to a drink on them. One memorable letter contained a hundred dollar bill with a note that I have a great meal on them.
The following week, we recreated the rescue on video for the TV show “A Current Affair.” My good friends got hired as stunt jumpers, I played myself, and aerial cinematographer Norm Kent filmed the jumps.
Over the next couple of months, requests for appearances just kept popping up. I returned to New York in July to appear on The Gerardo TV show. The following month I flew back to New York do a TV commercial for FTD Flowers. I was invited back to New York in September to address the Telephone Pioneers convention.
Requests for me to participate in Parachute Demonstration jumps also came in. The City of Phoenix asked me to jump into downtown Phoenix to open the Summer Sunday celebration. The Navy Seals invited me to jump with them at the Reading Airshow in Pennsylvania and the Misty Blues asked me to jump with them at the Albuquerque Balloon Festival.
Also, multiple awards came after the Gold Vail Award. The AZ Aviation Group, the Carnegie Foundation, and the Kiwanis all honored me with awards. President Ronald Reagan sent me a letter of congratulations. The FAI named me Airman of the Year for 1987. Also, the Governor of Arizona awarded me a Certificate of Merit.
We did three more videos recreating the rescue over the next few years. We filmed one for the TV show “Rescue 911” that aired in September of 1989 as the closing segment of the premier of that series. In 1990, we filmed a recreation for the British TV show “Dead Men’s Tales.” Finally, in 1999, we filmed a recreation for the TV show “It’s A Miracle.” One more TV production company emailed me about recreating it for the fifth time in 2004, but I had stopped skydiving by then and turned that one down.
Thus ended the media circus. It had been a wild ride but not as good as a 60 second free fall.