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90-year-old Purple Heart recipient in Utah lives out skydiving dream

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Posted at 2:50 PM, Jun 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-21 17:11:08-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah – A veteran of the United States Army proves it’s never too late to achieve a dream.

Joseph Dale Jaramillo served in the Korean War, was wounded in battle, and received the Purple Heart.

“I couldn’t hardly move my arm,” Jaramillo recalled. “Even all that, I still saved a guy.”

During his selfless service, he dreamed of jumping out of airplanes for the Army, but that was something Jaramillo always had to watch others do.

“I signed up for the 101st Airborne and only weighed 128 pounds. I had to weigh 140,” Jaramillo said.

Years passed, and Jaramillo waited to leap.

Saturday, on his 90th birthday, that wait came to an end.

Jaramillo suited up, strapped on a parachute, and took a one-way flight into the clouds.

The only way down is something that had eluded him for decades.

Connected with a tandem professional from Skydive Utah, Jaramillo jumped from the plane 14,000 feet above the ground.

When he landed, he was full of emotion.

“When you’re coming down, a lot of wind is hitting you,” Jaramillo said. “Oh my gosh, I want to do it all over again.”

Skydive Utah says it is not uncommon for senior citizens to skydive. They estimate about one person aged 80 or older signs up to skydive each week.

Jaramillo hopes to take another leap and skydive for a second time on his 95th birthday.

John Franchi at KSTU first reported this story.