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Tag Archive | "Spart Senior Neighbors"

Seniors soar with the eagles


A group of local seniors crossed an item off their bucket lists earlier this month after they had a chance to go skydiving for the first time.

Four women from Sparta Senior Neighbors made the trip to Sky Dive Grand Haven on Saturday, September 15, to jump out of a plane. Jane Ringler, coordinator of the Sparta Senior Neighbors center, planned the trip as an effort to incorporate some active outings into the members’ lives. “We are working on those bucket list adventures,” said Ringler, “and this group of seniors is raring to go.”

One of the women jumping Saturday was Vivian Livermore. The 85-year-old is a three-time cancer survivor who says she is now going blind. Regardless, she was looking forward to jumping from a plane, saying, “This is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time and I never had the nerve to do it. Today is the day. I’m getting too old to wait.”

Going up in two small groups, the four women—Vivian Livermore, Tess Cantile, Donna VanOeffelen and Judy Smith—all went through with their jumps and safely struck their landings. Smiles were wide on their faces as each of the women landed and made their way over to friends and family who were cheering them on.

Donna VanOeffelen said she is eager to do it all again. “My 11-year-old granddaughter wanted to go, but you have to be 18. The day I turn 80, she will be 18, so we’ll go together then.”

Tess Cantile came down with her arms spread like wings and waving to the ground crew, she said, “It was indescribable, a beautiful feeling.”

Judy Smith, a member of the Senior Neighbors Walker Fire House Café, shared that she is afraid of heights but wanted to participate in the experience. “Everybody was proud of Judy’s courage,” said Ringler.  

The Sparta Senior Neighbors Center is planning additional adrenaline-packed outings soon that could include rock climbing, parasailing and bungee jumping.  

Anyone who is interested in these upcoming adventures can contact the Sparta Senior Neighbors at (616) 887-1273.  

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