I'd met Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas O'Herron more times than I could count in the past year for various stories.
Whenever I needed a parachute expert to explain the gear to me - and it was always O'Herron.
His big personality struck me every time we met at the Advanced Airborne School at Fort Bragg. I knew I had to do a story on him.
Convincing him I had to do the story was another thing, though.
O'Herron doesn't like attention, but agreed to an interview. I think it's because we'd many so many times for different stories; I like to think he felt comfortable with me and knew he could trust my writing to be fair.
Here's the lede for my story. Read it in its entirety at fayobserver.com.
By Amanda Dolasinski
If you don't listen closely, you might miss something the caffeine-fueled, slick-talking Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas O'Herron spits out.
The veteran jumpmaster instructor paces back and forth at the Advanced Airborne School, talking faster than a spokesman closing an infomerical.
And with an average of 600 paratroopers under his direction in a single basic airborne refresher class, he doesn't have time for excuses, tardiness or broken equipment.
Almost every conventional paratrooper on Fort Bragg has interacted with O'Herron, a barrel-chested soldier typically seen under a black baseball cap.
Behind the byline
Here's an inside look at how some of my favorite stories came together.