Chris Needels, Hall of Fame ’14, VP Board of Trustees, Honored by USPA
Near 100-degree – 60% humidity – weather in Fredericksburg, Virginia, couldn’t keep a huge group of skydivers and their families from attending the festivities at USPA headquarters, July 23, 2016, where USPA renamed its office building “The Christopher J. Needels National Skydiving Headquarters.”
Those joining USPA staff and board members for the event included fellow International Skydiving Museum trustees, President James F. (Curt) Curtis III, Larry Bagley, Lenny Potts, and, Pat Thomas. Other luminaries in the crowd included Don Beach, USPA executive director 1974-75 and Steve Spoerry, Chris’ first jumpmaster back in the early 1960s at the US Military Academy – West Point.
Curtis shared words of praise for Needels. “From the perspective of both a former USPA staff executive working at headquarters and later as President/CEO of the USPA board, I had always thought we deserved our own showcase headquarters; Chris Needels made that happen!! Now, and appropriately so, the building bears his name. Congrats, Chris.”
The Golden Knights from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, dazzled the crowd with its aerial expertise, followed by USPA executive director Ed Scott, current USPA president Jay Stokes and past USPA president Sherry Butcher, unveiling the shiny bronze plaque mounted next to the building’s front door. Originally conceived and designed by Needels while he served as USPA’s executive director from 1994-2008, the building – built by skydivers for skydivers – became operative in 2006 when the organization moved from its old office in Alexandria, Virginia.
Needels, a member of the museum’s Hall of Fame (’14), serves as the museum’s board of trustees vice-president and as a USPA executive director emeritus. He thanked the crowd for their kind gesture and recognized those who helped make this such a special day.
Pictured: Chris Needels (left) with Jay Stokes, President, USPA Board of Directors – Photo courtesy of Randy Connell, USPA