Elizabethtown It has been a lifelong goal of Aileen G. Geiling to take that first step.
She had always wanted to jump out of an airplane, feel the wind on her face as she fell toward the earth, and then open the parachute and gently float back down to the earth.
The problem was, life kept getting in the way.
“Just getting around to it and making the phone call really was the only thing that held me up,” Geiling, now 80, said.
Ever since I was 16, it has been my dream to skydive.”
It was a dream that Geiling had shared with her family, including her husband, Jerry, five children and 17 grandchildren, who then got the idea to pull together and present the matriarch of the family with the chance to experience what she had always wanted to do.
“They presented me with the gift of a lifetime, and the experience lived up to the years of anticipation,” Geiling said. “It was one of those things where we were running the family business and just life kept coming on us, and suddenly I was presented with this gift.”
On Aug. 24, Geiling cashed in her skydiving opportunity at Saratoga Sky Dive.
Geiling boarded the plane with her instructor, whom she tandem jumped with and climbed to 9,000-feet.
Then, the chance to take that first step finally came.
“You take that step, and you are just going straight down,” Geiling said. “It’s scary and thrilling all at once.”
Geiling and her instructor were in free-fall for about 45 second before the parachute deployed, bringing them the rest of the way down.
“We were doing about 120 mph,” Geiling said. “I was cheered on by my family and friends, and I returned to the safe and smiling.”