Though there was a bit of an gap between them, Hank and Paul Dymond were fast friends. They shared a love for the outdoors, spending free weekends wakeboarding, water skiing, snow skiing, and just about any other activity that could be had with friends and required a bit of adrenaline.
Paul was four years older, graduating high school when Hank had just gotten his bearings as freshman. Finishing up his degree when Hank was still a bright-eyed, lanky kid starting out at OU. However, Paul is quick to point out that in many ways, he looked up to Hank, who he says was incredibly smart and wise beyond his years.
Hank and Paul enjoyed having high level conversations about business, finances, and of course, aviation. Once Hank began training for his pilot’s license, he urged his friend toward the same passion, not that Paul needed much convincing. The timing wasn’t quite right, but Paul promised Hank that as soon as he had the opportunity, he too was going to pursue his pilot’s license.
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Everyone would have understood if Paul bid farewell to his aviation dream when he had to say goodbye to his friend. It’s the kind of loss that changes everything, including who you are and how you view life.
As for Paul, his altered outlook was to pursue his purpose with a renewed sense of urgency.
“One thing we can’t get back is time,” Paul says with conviction. “We only have a certain amount of it. What you choose to do with that time defines you. I feel like wasting my opportunities would be doing a disservice to the blessings that I’m given when there are others who would love to have these opportunities.”
In October of 2015, Paul seized one of those opportunities when he made good on his promise to his friend and earned his pilot’s license. Piloting his own plane is just as amazing as he expected it would be, but for Paul, the best part is sharing the experience with others. Though Hank and Paul never did get to go up in the air together, he now understands one reason why his friend loved it so much.
“Flying is an amazing experience, but when you take someone up with you who has never flown in a small plane before, it’s really cool.” The first person Paul took up was his little brother, a unique gift for the younger Dymond’s birthday.
Today, Paul takes to the skies over Oklahoma City a few times a month. When asked about how he defines Keep it Going, his answer reflects how he’s committed to living his life in light of his friend.
“It’s changed my attitude about a lot of things. Things that used to be big problems really aren’t that big of a deal now. Keeping it going is about taking every moment you have, and doing as much as you can with it. A lot of people aren’t afforded the opportunities that we are, so don’t waste it or take it for granted. It’s about trying to do as much as you can for the people who are in your life, because that’s what Hank did.”