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LIMA ? Retired Sgt. 1st Class Michael ?Big Mike? Elliott waited patiently on the tarmac Saturday afternoon while Marjorie Bryan posed with her longtime friend, Marianna Sherman, for a crowd of friends and relatives snapping a few last photos.

Then in a loud voice, Elliot called out the all-important question:

?Well, Margie, are you ready to skin this cat?? :laugh:

A brief plane ride later, Elliott was guiding Bryan, an 83-year-old Blue Star Mother from Lima, back to earth in a tandem parachute jump from more than 10,000 feet up.

About an hour later, Sherman, 82, of Kenton, completed her own jump.

The great-grandmothers parachuted Saturday at Allen County Airport to raise funds for the local Blue Star Mothers chapter and its Lima Veterans Food Pantry. They jumped in tandem with Elliott and a team of six other members of the Ranger Group, a band of retired Army Ranger paratroopers with loads of training and experience.

Blue Star Mothers of America are an organization of women whose sons and daughters have served in the military. The organization is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

The Blue Star parachutists were superb first-timers, said Elliott, 44, who has more than 9,500 jumps to his credit, about a third of them tandem jumps. Two of his tandems were former President George H.W. Bush on Bush's 83rd and 85th birthdays.

Her feet back on the ground and glass of champagne in her hand, a jubilant Bryan said she wants to accompany Bush if he jumps again for his 90th birthday.

?I'll be 85, and I want to go with him,? she said.

?These Blue Star Mothers are so sweet, so special,? Elliott said. ?We came up here two months ago, and they said they had this plan, and we said here's what you have to do. It was challenging, but they did it. They didn't quit.?

Eight other first-time parachutists jumped with them, including Bryan's grandsons, Alan and Matthew High; Sherman's son, Fred; and 57-year-old Robin McCarthy, of Dayton, national president of the Blue Star Mothers of America. The first-timers jumped one at a time from a single-engine small plane, tethered to a Ranger, while another Ranger soared next to them with a helmet-mounted video camera.

More than 200 people turned out to witness the event.



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That's awesome! I would like to see my grandmother do that (she just turned 90) but i do not think she will!

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