It was another extreme birthday celebration for a Russell resident.
Over the weekend, Jack Downs marked his 80th birthday by making a parachute jump. He did it with an organization in Grove City.
That came eight years after he marked his 72nd birthday by walking to Warren from his home on Cable Hollow Road. The journey is about 10 miles long.
Photo submitted for publication
Jack Downs, above, finishes his parachute jump. In the top photo, he prepares to embark.
Making his exploits even more difficult, Downs has a metal hip and uses a cane. A Korean War veteran, he is also a retired elementary teacher.
"I wanted to do something different," Downs said.
Downs is also well-traveled. He has made trips to Australia, Guinea, Rome, Paris and London.
However, this was the first time for Downs parachuting. Though he admitted to being somewhat nervous, he said he didn't bother obtaining doctor approval.
"The VA hospital may not appreciate me doing it," he said.
After jumping, Downs said he was ready to do it again. A lot of people were parachuting that day, he said, and their license plates were from all over.
It wasn't just men doing it either, Downs said, with many women also jumping. In addition, he said participants covered a variety of age groups.
"When I first came out of the plane, it was 'wow,'" Downs said.
Once the parachute opened up, Downs said he relaxed. At his age, he said anybody is likely to get jumpy.
Everybody should give parachuting a chance, Downs said, as instructors are well-prepared to handle everything. Though it might be unusual, he noted former president George H.W. Bush has also celebrated his 75th, 80th and 85th birthdays by parachuting.
"I figured if a Republican can jump, so should a Democrat," Downs said.