Leaping into another year

ANAHOLA — Bill Freeze and his daughter, Camille Freeze Kessler, took a giant leap of faith to mark their shared Leap Year birthdays.

“If you can imagine Heaven, it’s Kauai from the air. When you jump from 10,000 feet, you really realize the beauty of the island,” Bill Freeze said. “Seeing it from the air, you see the greenery, ocean, waterfalls and rivers. Kauai is a choice place to visit, and I’m grateful to be a part of it.”

On Monday, Freeze turned 64 and his daughter turned 36.

To ring in their birthdays, the father-daughter duo, visiting from Utah, skydived from the Port Allen Airport.

The last time Freeze skydived was in 1971.

This time, he was the first to jump out of the plane — and he liked it so much, he did it again.

“There’s no feeling of your stomach falling out, but it’s definitely an adrenaline rush,” he said. “Once you get used to it, that’s when you realize you’re alive.”

Freeze, who jumped tandem with an instructor with Skydive Kauai, said the parachute was deployed within 30 seconds. The drift to Earth took almost four minutes.

All five of his daughters, along with their husbands, traveled to Kauai.

“Our birthdays are always treated as a special thing, and my wife and daughters always make special arrangements,” he said.

Eight years ago, his family threw a basketball-themed party, complete with uniforms. Freeze and his daughter were surprised by extended family, he said.

But no matter the theme, Freeze and his daughter celebrate together.

“When Camille was born, it was my greatest birthday gift ever,” he said. “We knew she was going to be born close to Leap Year, so it was like she wanted to be my special gift.”

Freeze Kessler, a registered nurse who celebrated her 9th “real birthday,” added: “Having a Leap Year birthday has always made me feel special. I have made up my mind that every four years, I’m going to do something fun and outrageous for my birthday to make it more memorable. After all, I will always be young in terms of real birthdays.”

Leap Year birthdays run in the family. In addition to himself and his daughter, Freeze’s cousin was born on Feb. 29.

“It’s a fun thing, although we do get teased about it,” he said.

Having a real birthday every four years keeps him young, he said.

“I’m 16, so I can have a driver’s license now,” he said.

While Freeze and his family have visited Oahu and Maui, this is their first trip to Kauai.

“It’s been cold in Utah, so it’s a great break to come to this weather,” he said.

Apart from the beauty and the weather, Freeze will also remember the people on the island.

“We’ve been a lot of places in the world, but we’re always treated the best in Hawaii,” he said.

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