A Perfectly Good Airplane

Written by Nancy Russell, Vermont Resident, Rotarian, PWW Volunteer and 2x Jump for Safe Water Jumper! 

Anna Harper and Nancy Russell, 2022 Jump for Safe Water Adventurers

Don’t let anyone fool you…that first step taken out of your comfort zone is the hardest.

My comfort zone was stepping out of that airplane at 12,000 feet. I had signed the “no responsibility” form and had been suited up, instructed, and lead to the plane with the other Safe Water jumpers. We climbed aboard that perfectly good plane, with no seats except for the pilot’s. The door was closed, the engine started, and off we went into the wide blue yonder.

At 12,000 feet the door was opened and a gust of cold air hits us in the face. Now it is time for that first step.

The wind wants to blow your foot off that tiny strip of metal attached to the side of the plane, but I know it has to stay there. My heart is pounding and my pulse is racing.

My dive instructor gives the signal and off we go...we are flying! There is peace and serenity as I look around the beauty surrounding me in the sky and the farmlands below. It is like a graceful ballet. The landing, successful, but not so graceful!

I have been to Haiti three times. I have seen and experienced, firsthand, the devastation caused by unclean water. I have rocked babies with swollen bellies, their hair turning orange due to malnutrition, while tears ran down my face…with my heart pounding and my pulse racing. What could I do to help? 

There was not enough personnel. Water that should have been boiled before used, but wasn’t. Cattle wading in the streams, while mothers did laundry and children played and swam…in the same streams. Safe water was miles away.

Nancy with Bill Russell during the first Jump for Safe Water (2019)

Upon my return from my first trip to Haiti, I heard about Pure Water for the World. I was hooked. Here was an organization that was already doing the work needed!

This is why I have jumped, TWICE, to raise money for PWW.

“Together, we establish comprehensive safe water solutions that include the essential tools and education to serve all community members.”

Watch the Jump for Safe Water 2022 video, featuring PWW ED, Matt Korn, and special appearance with Nancy Russell:


The entire PWW team extends our heartfelt gratitude to Nancy for her courage, passion and commitment to take the leap (twice!) from that perfectly good plane and help children and families in Haiti and Honduras gain reliable access to our most basic human necessity…safe water. Thank you, Nancy. Also special thanks to Kevin McAllister for joining us again this year, along with his son, Travis. Hope to see you all again next year!