Interview with the hero from Ready-Made Family by Cheryl Wyatt:
1. Ben Dillinger, tell me the most interesting thing about you.
I am a United States Special Operations Pararescue Jumper. PJ for short. There are less than a 1000 of us worldwide. Our training takes two years and over 80% do not make it through the PJ pipeline program. We are skydiving search and rescue paramedics trained in military combat. When an allied pilot is shot down or crashed behind enemy lines? We're the ones who go after them. We also stay on standby for shuttle landings in the event of a water landing---we're there along with NASA.
2. What do you do for fun?
Skydive!!! Train for missions which also means skydiving. Train others to skydive. I volunteer at Refuge's Drop Zone (the facility and grounds where parachutists land) to take civilians on tandem jumps for fun. We video the jump and give it to people afterwards. Great fun.
3. What do you put off doing because you dread it?
Unpacking my rucksack after a long mission. So I actually keep two mission rucksacks. So that one's ready to go at all times.
4. What are you afraid of most in life?
Letting my brother down. He has Mosaic Down Syndrome and I was embarrassed of him growing up. But I just took him in and am trying to build a relationship with him.
5. What do you want out of life?
I'm single and looking for a family. I'm more than ready to settle down. But I need a gal who can handle what I do and the fact that I have to leave on a moment's notice. My job is dangerous and I need someone who can be brave when I'm gone. There's this girl who just happened into town...not of her own volition though...who I've got my eye on. You'll have to read the book to get the rest of the story.
6. What is the most important thing to you?
God. Worship. I am a worship leader in my church. I make up my own worship songs to God. The guys on my team like to make fun of me over it. They call me a musical poet. But, hey, I can still lift more than any of them in the gym. So I can take 'em. LOL.
7. Do you read books? If so, what is your favorite type of book?
Um...sadly not into books. But I'd read Steeple Hill books. Amelia, that's the girl I was telling you about earlier who I like, she loves romance novels. She reads your books in fact. There's a slew of them on her bookshelves right now. :-)
8. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I wish I knew how to better talk to my brother. I have a hard time relating to people with disabilities. Many people don't know what to do or say. Or whether to help or resist helping to spare the person's dignity. It's hard to know what to do or say to a disabled person sometimes. But I'm learning and God is helping me relate better to my brother.
9. Do you have a pet? If so, what is it and why that pet?
I don't have a pet. Can't really take care of one with having to leave on my job. But the girl I like, she has a dog named Shasta. And her little girl has this bear-baby thing that's sort of like a pet. It's a stuffed animal named Bearby. She never leaves home without it. Bearby's like an appendage. He goes everywhere with us. If you look closely, you can see him on the cover of Ready-Made Family. Little Reece in the foreground there? She's running with Bearby across the yard.
10. If you could travel back in time, where would you go and why?
Vietnam to see where PJs originated from. I have an enormous respect for Vietnam vets. What they went through wasn't easy. And I'd feel like I was standing on sacred ground almost. The sacrifice and courage and valor displayed by those men makes me want to visit the sites of the offensives.