Roger Nelson and Skydive Safety | Letters | Chicago Reader

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Roger Nelson and Skydive Safety

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Dear Ms. True:

It is with great dismay that I read your article on Skydive Chicago and Roger Nelson ["Look Before You Leap," April 2]. While most of the facts were accurate, the tenor of the article, particularly the emphasized passages, cast an inaccurate and untrue impression as to Roger Nelson, Skydive Chicago, and the accident which tragically took Roger's life.

I have been associated with skydiving since 1983 and during that period of time became very close to Roger Nelson. Everyone who skydives realizes that it is a dangerous sport, that you must be alert and aware at all times, and even if you are, the other person may not be and can kill you with his mistake. While fixing the blame for the accident really does no one any good, you made it sound as though it was Roger Nelson's fault that he was killed. There was absolutely nothing that he or anyone in his situation could have done.

Roger Nelson had been an innovator in the sport and pioneered many safety features that are now standard. Roger was truly the heart and soul of Skydive Chicago, and he viewed the events there as his own personal party. He felt it was his job to make sure that everyone, from the first-time student jumper, the individual just off student status, to the most experienced jumper, was enjoying themselves and felt welcome.

Roger was a strong personality. Most people who knew him loved him without reservation. However, as with any strong personality, there are a small few who disliked him equally without reservation. He ran, without a doubt, the best drop zone in the country. He was always conscious of the safety of the jumpers and was always striving to improve the safety of not only Skydive Chicago, but the entire parachuting industry. While he was not perfect, he is and will be sorely missed by everyone.

Fred M. Morelli Jr.

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