SCARSDALE, N.Y. – On Thursday afternoon, the Scarsdale skies rained down with support for brave children battling critical illnesses, as skydivers came from the clouds onto Crossway Field into an event orchestrated by firefighter John Savarese for children in the Ronald McDonald House.
The skydivers, playing the role of paratroopers, came in as part of an elaborate mock bank robbery. The scenario included an assault vehicle, flash-bang and smoke grenades, and cap-gun fighting, among other things, and concluded with three professional skydivers with military experience coming from the skies to save the day.
The first paratrooper wore a cape bearing the Ronald McDonald House Charities name. The second had a jet suit, and was zipping around the sky, much to the delight of the spectators. His parachute, designed like a turnout coat, honored the firefighters. The third came down slowly, with his tremendous American flag parachute blocking the cloudy skies above.
“I want to put a smile on the kids’ faces for one day so they can just forget their problems, forget about the disease they’re battling, and just be a normal kid with everyone,” Savarese said.
Ben Winster, a director with Ronald McDonald House, brought 25 children to Scarsdale with their families to enjoy a fun show and carnival atmosphere orchestrated by Savarese at Fire Station No. 3 on Crossway.
“Special events in the summer are different because parents and siblings can all be together more,” Winster said. “This gives the families a chance to get out of the city. It gives both the siblings and the parents a chance to not think about the disease as well.”
After the show, the children made good use of a variety of carnival games and rides by CNN Amusements. Although the weather looked threatening, no rain fell and the clouds provided a cool day for everyone.
There was a rock wall to climb, and face painting for everyone from kids to firefighters. There was a trampoline-like ride attached to a bungee and two different slides. Savarese worked five months to raise about $12,000 to put the day on for the children. He even had a skywriter planned to write “Ronald McDonald House Charity” for all to see, but the poor weather prevented that.
“This is the third straight year, and some of these kids, we don’t know if we’ll see them for a fourth,” he said. “The weather was perfect and everything went off without a hitch. I think everyone had a great day.”