Battle Creek Pays Tribute To ShockWave Jet Truck Driver Chris Darnell
Attendees at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival paid their respects to Shockwave Jet Truck driver Chris Darnel, who was killed during his performance, Saturday afternoon. Darnel was racing his jet-powered truck down the tarmac, against two aircraft, when it suddenly burst into flames, exploding and then rolling several times.
Festival organizers reported, in a Facebook posting, that Sunday was a somber day at the festival. Sunday's air show was dedicated to Chris, with several pilots opening the event with a missing man formation in memory of Darnell, as performers and military members lined up on the ground. Several bands donated their wages to the Darnell family. The Sam Luna Band donated their paycheck to the Darnell Family and put a bucket out for donations. The Megan Rae Band (Megan Rae Fans) followed suit with the bucket. Over the course of the two concerts, over $2000 was raised. Donation jars were also present at the front gate and beverage tents. The U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds ended the air show with the "Missing Man" formation as they passed overhead the crowds.
Chris was the husband of Brooke with twin daughters, Reese & Taylor, and left behind the legacy of being a model husband and son. His father Neal Darnell posted a moving tribute to his son, saying,
Marilyn and I and Brooke, Reese and Taylor have been overwhelmed with all the condolences sent from all around the country. Literally thousands of you have reached out. We wish we could personally answer every single one. We have lost our youngest son Chris in an accident doing what he loved; performing with SHOCKWAVE. Chris so loved life and his huge Air Show and Drag Racing Family. And what a Family Man he was to his wife Brooke and his two daughters Reese and Taylor. He was so proud of their sports accomplishments. Just weeks ago they had completed their new Dream Home. A long 2 year project involving their entire Family. They thought they were set for life. Such a beautiful place. He had so much to live for. Life isn’t fair sometimes and we all wonder what Gods plan is when something like this happens. Please bear with us while the whole family processes this horrible thing. We all arrived in Battle Creek last night to try our best to get thru this. Brooke and the girls along with brothers and sisters are all here. We want to again say THANK YOU for Caring and Loving our beloved Chris.
The Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show & Balloon Festival Facebook page was filled with comments from air show attendees, commenting on how Chris was such a nice person, always willing to answer questions and explain the features of the Shockwave Jet Truck. A new sense of awe and respect has settled on the grounds of Battle Creek’s renowned spectacle of the skies.