NASA People

Center Snapshot: Ordell Ange
Ordell Ange, center snapshot. Image above: Ordell Ange and her daughter, Kim Rediske, hold an image of Brian who worked at NASA Langley for ROME. Photo Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Jim Hodges

It wasn't that Ordell Ange recently learned how strong her friendships were.

"I knew I had friends," said Ange, who works at NASA Langley as a contractor for Tessada, inventorying and managing equipment. "I always knew that people loved me and that they would be there for me. But now I'm gaining friends. More are coming, through church and through NASA."

Those friends, her faith, and her family have seen her through a parent's worst nightmare, the loss of a child. Son Brian, 20, died on July 21, and his mother quickly learned about the support she had at NASA Langley.

So did daughter Kim Rediske, also a contractor, for ROME.

"We weren't just getting support from our real family," Rediske said. "We were getting cards from not just one person in a building, but whole areas and a whole building. We got flowers from facilities for the funeral."

Added Ange: "I want to thank everybody for the cards and flowers and messages of support." That support is probably in part because her children have been a part of Langley since they were young. (Her children: Jerry 30, Kim 29, Darrell 28, William 24, and Brian 20.)

"I've been here so long," said Ange, who came to the center in 1994 to join the maintenance staff and has worked in several jobs at Langley. "My kids grew up here. All of the guys I've worked with on the maintenance contract, they saw my kids grow up. It's a family. That's why my daughter works here, why my son worked here."

Her first full-time job came at Langley.

"I was young with all of these children," she said. "People I worked with here taught me a lot of responsibility, how to do a lot of things."

Away from the center, she rides all-terrain vehicles with husband Shane, takes the occasional cruise and jumps out of airplanes.

The last is a recent addition to her list of avocations.

"When I was a teenager, I had the opportunity to jump," Ange said. "My parents said no, but I told them I was going to do it someday."

Three years ago, her husband gave her her first jump as a birthday present. She has jumped since and plans to again in September, this time accompanied by Rediske, who will jump for the first time.

"She has inspired me," Rediske said. "I was always too afraid."

Said Ange: "I love it. But it's an expensive hobby, and it takes a lot of time in the hangar before you jump, and I just don't have a lot of time. I have four grandchildren."

She has four grandchildren, who command all of the time she can give them and, in return, offer their own kind of support. Brian’s children Celine, 4, and McKenzie, 5 months; Darrell’s daughter Kendall, 9 months, and Jerry’s son Joey, 1, “are good medicine," Ange said.

They have all helped her over the past weeks. Coping, she said, has been aided by faith,family and friends.

"A child's loss, it doesn't get better, but it gets easier," Ange said.

"You mean it doesn't get easier, but it gets better," Rediske said, adding that the loss has made her and her mother closer.

"No, it doesn't get better, but it gets easier with time," Ange said. "My advice to anybody who has to go through it is to have faith. That's what fills the void in your heart. When you lose a child, even if you have more than one, there's always that missing, that love that you don't see. But if you have faith, your sons and daughters can hear it. It's comforting."

It's kept her going.

"I'm a stronger person," Ange said. "I'm OK. I'm going to be OK."