Incidents News

Help Needed for Steve Helffrich

From our friend Duane Palmer in Tennessee,

“Please meet Jennifer & Steve Helffrich…

Jennifer & Steve Helffrich

Jennifer, Steve & Friends

Steve as Tandem Master

On Saturday, April 10, 2010, during a normal skydive, Steve experienced a double malfunction (failure of both the main and reserve parachutes to fully deploy and/or inflate) and was flown via Life Flight to the only trauma center within 150 miles, Regional Medical Center (also known as ‘The Med’) in Memphis, Tennessee.

Steve sustained multiple life threatening injuries including damage to his aorta (the most serious of his injuries), punctured/deflated left lung, dislocated/broken right hip, and broken ribs on the right side (#5 thru #9).

Since being admitted into the trauma ICU, Steve has undergone several surgeries including vascular surgery to repair his aorta, the insertion of 6 chest tubes total, as well as surgery last week to remove excess fluid and infection surrounding his left lung.

Known by many as the “Mom and Dad” of the drop zone, Jen & Steve are always doing kind things for others while expecting nothing in return.  Most of us that skydive with them spend every weekend sharing our passion for the sport and the amazing friendships that have been established.  To a majority of us, they are our extended family.  Jen & Steve are both amazing skydivers, coaches, and most of all, friends – sharing this zest for life with anyone and everyone that will listen to them speak about the sport.

In this time of need, those of us that are friends, family, acquaintances, and those that will never “jump out of a perfectly good airplane,” have the opportunity to show them our support – whether it be through well wishes, cards, private prayer/church prayer lists, and/or donations.

Thankfully, Jen & Steve have insurance but with an accident of this severity, there are numerous additional incurred bills/daily hardships.  In order to show support, the Helffrich Benefit Fund has been established through First Tennessee Bank.

There are 3 options of how you can donate to this Fund:

#1:        Visit ANY First Tennessee Bank branch with the following account information:
Helffrich Benefit Fund (Account #182355531)
** NOTE: To find the closest First Tennessee Bank location to you, CLICK HERE **

#2:        Visit

PD New Beginning

Enter contact information & banking information
(Check #/Checking Account Number/Routing Number)

** NOTE: This payment option is through David P. Smith’s Company, ServiceU Corporation, whose business is processing secure online transactions. **

#3:        If you are unable to visit a First Tennessee Bank location, do not have a branch in your area and/or do not wish to donate online, a check made out to Helffrich Benefit Fund can be sent to:

David P. Smith
1154 Talamore Cove
Collierville, TN  38017

Should you wish to send a card to Jen & Steve, please address them to:

David P. Smith
Attn:  Helffrich Family
1154 Talamore Cove
Collierville, TN  38017″

Current Update: He finally made it home last week. As it turned out he was really, really lucky!! It was really touch and go for a while there. He is now up and able to move around to a degree with a walker. And is very positive about life!!

But the running tally was 3 surgeries, 9 chest tubes (at different times), 31 days in ICU, 1 night in a regular room, 2 nights in Trauma Step Down ICU, countless x-rays and CT’s, a stent in the aorta, a trach, several broken bones all healing and about 35 lbs dropped. Plus 2 weeks in an rehab center.

The family could still use the financial help until he is able to get back up and to work. Any help would be great!!

He actually was able to get up and made it out to the DZ last weekend (didn’t jump naturally, but his wife got in a couple). The incident didn’t scare him away from the sport in the least. I think that he will be more involved now than ever. In training, coaching and teaching safety!! I can’t wait until he is able to be back in the air with us…

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