Veteran David Hart inspires others by the way he lives and gives back to others. To him, helping others is almost like breathing—it’s a natural part of his daily life. When it comes to honoring and showing respect for Veterans who have served, Hart believes it is important to maintain a sense of gratitude for people who do things for you.
“We are our brother’s keeper, regardless of whether they are a veteran or not,” Hart explains. “We need to look out for each other, and take care of each other. I look for opportunities to do that through community service.”
Hart regularly supports veteran’s events and he spends time with active military personnel.
Along with his brother and a friend, he founded Team Fastrax, a professional skydiving performance team. “We jumped over Ground Zero in New York City on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2008 at the exact time the second tower fell,” Hart recalls. “Then, we jumped again for the ten-year anniversary with ten flags.”
The trio also founded the Blue Skies for Good Guys & Gals Warrior Foundation to provide skydiving programs for wounded veterans. Since its formation, Blue Skies has taken more than 1,100 combat wounded veterans and Gold Star families skydiving.
Their four-day Warrior Weekend to Remember is a combination of activities meant to enrich the lives of active duty and veteran men and women injured in the line of duty. Combat injured warriors and Gold Star families participate in tandem skydives, aircraft rides, and hot air balloon rides.
“It’s all about reaching out to other people, showing them Christ’s love,” Hart explains, “and wrapping your arms around them. It’s about being a good Christian example.”
Reflecting on his military experience, he says the people are one of the things that mean the most to him now. Serving gave him the chance to work with and get to know people from many different walks of life.
“I have life-long friendships from that experience and I look back on the things we did together and the challenges we faced together, and that sense of purpose. I am forever grateful that I had that experience.”
David believes in giving back to others and being actively involved in their communities.
“I had a friend that took his own life recently. He was struggling with TBI and PTSD. The best way I can explain it to people is the VA has hospitals, and they can provide psychiatrists, doctors, physicians and drugs, but they can’t provide love. That’s something that only your community can provide. And, that’s really what those people need. Those warriors need love, and they need the community to wrap their arms around them, embrace them and pull them out of their isolation.”
As an Army Ranger, Hart served as a Light Infantry Soldier. He deployed to combat by helicopter or parachute with what he could carry on his back. He received two Army achievement medals for his service in the Rangers and the Pathfinders.
“I was an Infantry Soldier,” Hart explains. “When I got out and went to college, I joined the Ohio Army National Guard and spent five years as a Pathfinder. Both of those enlistments were jump units, so I have continued jumping my whole life. I’m still a very active skydiver and have accumulated 6,000 jumps.”
“I come from a military family. My dad served in the Army in World War II, and my grandfather served in World War I. My brother also served in the Army. So I was always intrigued by the military.”
Hart admired the sacrifices his father and grandfather made and their willingness to defend the United States. He saw their actions as something he aspired to. He also said he liked the comradery and the sense of purpose he gained from serving in the Army. He also liked the unity of a shared mission and the discipline it required.
“Like a lot of other veterans, I grew up and matured through my military experience. It taught me life-long leadership skills. Definitely, you learn to put your own self interests aside. First, it’s about the mission, and then, it’s about the team. Your personal desires come last.”
“The irony of it is, what I’ve found is by giving, you receive,” Hart concludes, “and some of my most enriching life experiences are in doing things for other people, and pulling people together to accomplish goodness. It’s very rewarding and it’s very motivating.”
Learn more about David Hart at WarriorWTR.com
Ginny McCabe is a bestselling author, speaker, and teacher. Her work may be seen in publications like Journal-News and Reuters. Her books have been published by Thomas Nelson/Harper Collins & Standard Publishing. Ginny serves as president on the board of Greater Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and was named “Best Freelance Writer” in 2018. Learn more at ginnymccabe.com.