When the SkyHawks parachute team stopped by the YYF Penticton Airport on Wednesday morning, they were quickly reminded of how important it is to spend time in communities across the country.
Just hours ahead of their anticipated Peach Fest performance, the SkyHawks took to the regional airport for a public meet-and-greet, as well as for a 12,500 feet skydive demonstration.
“This is the proudest I’ve ever been while serving my country because I get to see Canadians coast-to-coast,” Capt. Pierre-Alexandre Dufour. “Doing this in Penticton today just makes me so proud.”
Team members posed for pictures with the public, sparked conversations with interested community members and did their best to put on a smile on just about everyone’s face.
“It’s good to get the name SkyHawks out there and to give back to the community,” said Cpl. Ugo Smith. “I get to share my passion with all the people here. It just makes me so happy.”
The SkyHawks — who appeared in Calgary, Terrace and Fort St. John prior to their stop in Penticton — spent Wednesday morning signing autographs in what was described as “a day for the kids.”
“This is an opportunity for people to find an interest in the Canadian Forces, do a one-on-one meet and greet with the SkyHawks and for the kids to develop experiences that they’ve always wanted to,” said Stephen Brown from the Summerland Air Cadets.
The team will be at Penticton’s Okanagan Lake at 5 p.m. for a special Peach Fest performance. Jumping 6,000 feet in the air, demonstrators will be among those to kick off the festival’s anticipated return to the community.
“I’m aware of how important Peach Fest is to this community,” Dufour stated. “We know there’s going to be a lot of people there.”
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds, meanwhile, have cancelled their Peach Fest show in the wake of a crash in Fort St. John on Tuesday.
Before Tuesday’s crash, the Snowbirds were scheduled to be alongside the SkyHawks in the community meet-and-greet.
After their appearance in the Peach City, the SkyHawks will be in Abbotsford.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know you’ve put smiles on people’s faces,” Dufour said.