Lenoir County Veteran skydives for his 98th birthday

Published: Jan. 24, 2023 at 8:17 PM EST
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OAK ISLAND, N.C. (WITN) - A retired Eastern Carolina service member has crossed off a milestone on his bucket list at 98 years old.

Roy Jernigan is a La Grange resident who decided to skydive with his daughter and granddaughter for his birthday.

Jernigan was a Naval Corpsman during the Korean and Vietnam Wars. He was also an understudy as a clown in the Ringling Brothers Circus at the start of World War II.

His family says Jernigan agreed to jump after his granddaughter jokingly suggested he skydive for his 98th birthday.

“I didn’t think he’d go through with it [...] not much surprises me these days from him. He’s a risk taker I guess,” said granddaughter, April Lintner.

After he landed, Jernigan said, “It was a good experience something I had never done. I can tell people how it feels to find out if you’re gonna hit it or not.”

So at 98 what is the secret to his long life? “My advice to anyone if God blesses you and gives you the number of years that he’s given me burnout your life living for others. You’ll never regret it,” he said.

“I mean it’s, it’s awesome because he’s able to do. He’s able to go and come. And I told him the other day, I said, ‘talk about 100.′ And he said ‘oh, I don’t want to live to 100.’ I said, ‘Why not?’ You’ve got good health, you’ve got a good mind. And so you know there’s no reason that you couldn’t just do what you’re doing now even in two more years,” said daughter, Linda Jernigan Williams.

Despite some doubt, Jernigan says he plans to skydive again two years from now, for his 100th birthday.