One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 1, 2015.
My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.
Do you have friends that sometimes pop out of the clear blue? I have a friend that literally pops out of the clear blue sky as a hobby. Her hobby and passion in life is sky diving. She has jumped out of an airplane over 900 times. She met her husband sky diving. She has been part of several state and world records with sky diving. She literally likes to pop out of a clear blue sky and land on earth. She is also a unique, talented, adventurous, intelligent, and hard-working leader. In fact she was part of record-setting group of 181 women from around the world who in 2009 participated in “Jump for the Cause”.
My friend’s name is Jaclyn “Jackie” Kaylor Donovan and she I met when she was working at Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, GA. Americus is located just about 10 miles to the east of Plains, Georgia which is the home of former President Jimmy Carter. Jackie arrived at GSW in 2004 as the head athletic trainer, a role she carried until summer 2007. In that three-year span from 2004 to 2007 the girl was the hardest working person in college athletics, Jackie wore a number of hats serving as assistant athletic director, NCAA compliance coordinator and instructor. Just for good measure on top of all those responsibilities they had her serve as interim sports information director for a small period of time. If you know anything about college athletics there is not enough time in the day to do compliance, athletic training, sports information, and teach college courses. Jackie did it all and in 2008 Georgia Southwestern named her Athletic Director. She was 30 years old and leading a university thru a tremendous transition of going from N.A.I.A. to NCAA Division II.
She performed her new job as Georgia Southwestern Athletic Director with passion, grace, and precision. In 2014 she left Georgia Southwestern to pursue Athletic Training as a career and to get closer to her best friend and husband Jack Donovan.
During her tenure as Director of Athletics, the GASW Hurricanes completed that successful transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II, she directed improvements to all of GSW’s athletic facilities and numerous student-athletes received awards for academic success. Her Men’s basketball and golf qualified for NCAA Division II post-season play, with golf having individual participants in the NCAA Division II National Championship in 2012 and 2013. She accomplished a lot.
Today Jaclyn is employed by Vereen Center in Moultrie, GA. At the Vereen Rehabilitation Center, Jaclyn and her team of certified athletic trainers offer a variety of treatments to the area high schools.
Jaclyn is also a very active member of her community and belongs to Rotary International, serving as President of the Americus, GA club and a District 6900 Assistant Governor.
Jaclyn and I shared a lot of laughs but one of the most memorable was an early one we had together. We were selected by the Peach Belt Conference to be part of a team that would do a site visit to Montevallo University in Alabama in the fall of 2008. Montevallo was looking to leave the Gulf South Conference and join the Peach Belt. One evening after our campus visit a few members of the site visit team went out to dinner. After dinner we spotted a “Stone Cold Creamery” and made our way to the front door. Jackie and I entered simultaneously and this dis-shelved 17-year-old behind the counter told Jackie and I “Dude we are closed”. Well the nickname of “Dude” for me and “Dudette” for Jaclyn stuck.
In early 2000’s Jackie was traveling to Quincy, FL to sky dive. There she encountered a man from Thomasville, GA named Jack Donovan that eventually became her husband and best friend.
The Friend- JACLYN DONOVAN
The Friend of the Friend – JACK DONOVAN
Jaclyn and Jack “ A couple with a low threshold for boredom”
Jack Donovan has worked for Cone Machinery for nearly thirty years. Cone manufactures world-class saw mill machinery and are headquartered in Thomasville, GA. In the world of sky divers Jack Donovan has done a few jumps about 3,000 if you are counting. People that like to sky dive have to find a place to do it and they call those locations “drop zones”. For Jack Donovan that “drop zone” was Quincy, Florida.
Jaclyn Kaylor had just finished graduate school at the University of Kentucky and was looking for a “drop zone” closer to Lake Park, Georgia (I-75 exit 5) which was near the Georgia/Florida state line. Jaclyn has jumped as of today over 900 times. She soon discovered the “drop zone” in Quincy, FL and before long Jack the sky diver and Jaclyn the sky diver had discovered each other thanks to a friend of Jack’s. That friend confiscated a business card of Jaclyn’s and he call he and in 2005 their shared passion for sky diving turned into a relationship and eventually marriage in 2011.
The two of them love to jump out of an airplane that is 14,000 feet up in the air, wait until they are flying toward the ground at 125 miles per hour and then open their parachutes. On a good day they will do this 6 or 7 times a day.
Jack and Jaclyn are also competitive so just jumping or sky-diving is not enough for these two adventure junkies. They both have been involved in sky diving records. Jack in 2006 was one of 400 people who did a world record tandem jump together in Thailand. Can you even imagine 400 people all jumping out of plane all of them free-falling and getting connected before deploying their parachutes. Jaclyn just last month set a Georgia Record for a sequential jump where 20 sky divers in the span of 60 seconds created four unique shapes.
When you hear the phrase “they just popped up out of the blue” think about my friend Jaclyn Donovan and her husband Jack. They really do pop out of the blue.