Veteran skydives for his 80th birthday

10:48 PM, Aug 2, 2013   |    comments
Luke Newton, Skydive East Tennessee
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Frank Riley doesn't have to prove anything to anybody.

The 80-year-old father of three worked for 40 years for The Greeneville Sun newspaper, has been married for 30 years, and served our country for 22 years.

But after all that time, he held onto a goal.

"Just trying to prove myself," Riley said, who now lives in Russellville.

As young staff sergeant in the Army during the Korean War, he watched the 101st airborne division train to jump out of airplanes at an airfield in Breckenridge, Kentucky. But he never had that chance.

"I've never done any skydiving but it's always something I wanted to do," he said.

Friday, to mark his 80 years on Earth, he took to the skies. Strapped to an instructor from Skydive East Tennessee, Riley jumped from an airplane flying at 5,500 feet.

His family and friends gathered to watch and some called him crazy.

"I told my church we were coming and I asked them all to pray," said Riley's daughter-in-law.

But Riley says he didn't do it for them. He jumped to show himself he still knows how to live.

"I might do it again sometime. I really enjoyed it!" Riley said as he climbed off of the airplane.

His son, Tim, said his dad inspired him to possibly jump in the future.

"It's pretty amazing really," said Tim Riley.

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