Life is an exciting adventure constantly happening all around you. No matter what you do for a living, there will always be challenges that arise and it’s up to you to know which ones can be handled.
For 102-year-old Vivian “Millie” Bailey the sky was literally the limit when she decided to take on a personal challenge of her own: sky-diving. The ex-WWII veteran from Maryland decided to take new heights after becoming inspired when former president George H.W. Bush decided to take the leap of faith at 90 years of age.
“I was inspired by the fact that he did it.” Millie stated. “The fact that a person at that age could do the jump.”
Millie had been getting filmed for the television series, Honor Flight Heroes (plays on Discovery Networks’ American Heroes Channel), and was asked if there’s something she would like to accomplish that had not been done or had a chance to do yet in her long, abundant life.
“You are not going to believe it,” she said with a smile on her face. “The thing I’d like to do is a parachute jump like President Bush did.”
While it may be daunting for the average person, this veteran has seen so much in her life that this didn’t seem to faze her at all. The $300 price was a little steep for her taste, however, Millie would love it if someone could take her skydiving without actually charging her that high amount.
She’s not crazy, she’s just living life!
So with that, the production crew for Honor Flight Heroes decided to pick up the bill and aided Millie in granting her this one activity to cross off her bucket list.
As a bonus, the tv crew could also use that footage to promote the show and spice up the episode, so it was a win-win for both parties.
“You couldnt ask for a more thrill-packed ending to the episode,” said Eric J. Roberts, the executive producer for the tv series. “Millie would be the first 102-year-old person on Mars if it could be arranged!”
Dozens of Millie’s closest friends and family came out to support the brave lady for her commitment to making the jump. Howard County officials and paramedics were stationed in the event that anything went severely wrong.
As the plane took off into the horizon, tears rolled down the cheeks of her friends and family, showing just how much they were moved by Millie’s inspirational decision.
“I’m going to push you out,” Cornelius, the skydive instructor at Skydive Baltimore said. “Do you push me out before you come out?” Millie innocently wondered out loud. “If you want to go on a real adventure but I think we should stick together.” the instructor responded while being humored by her question.
After executing a safe landing, Millie was shining with energy and her smile brought happiness and joy to those watching. “It was wonderful, a real thrill!” Millie said ecstatically. “I was scared for one minute, it felt like I was tumbling and then I thought somebody is holding onto me.”
Millie’s story began back in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she joined the Army and was given the rank of second lieutenant in April 1943.
She worked her way up the ranks rapidly and even became the second in command of the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) at Fort McClellan before she was transferred to Fort Benning.
While at Ft. Benning, Millie became first lieutenant until she left the Army in 1946. Throughout her years with the military, she was part of a segregated Army. She now lives peacefully at an assisted living facility in Maryland.
Millie remains as strong as she’s ever been.
Even now through COVID-19, she prepares care packages for soldiers who are deployed overseas. Christopher Williams with the U.S. Air Force received one of her packages back in 2017.
“I received care packages in 2017 when I was in Afghanistan before deploying to Iraq,” Williams commented. “She follow me the whole way and send me handwritten notes. When I came back home, I was able to meet her and it was the best thing ever.”
Millie is truly a one of a kind inspirational figure. Her good deeds have reached thousands of military members around the world and her latest skydive performance has moved to tears many of those close to her.
When her sky-dive instructor asked if she would like to go again, she gave a hearty laugh and responded: “Just once is enough!”
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