91-year-old Sheila Reeder crosses skydiving off her bucket list!

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — We all have one life to live and if you do it right, once is enough!

91-year-old Sheila Reeder of Thaxton, Virginia is a true testament to this as she recently crossed off a major item on her bucket list: skydiving.

It all started with Sheila’s Grandson, Brian Reeder. Brian is what you would call an adrenaline junkie as he is a former pro wakeboarder, as well as a licensed skydiver.

“After I started jumping in 2017 and my family became more comfortable with me jumping all of the time, Gran mentioned to me that it was on her bucket list and she wanted to do it for her 90th birthday. I told her I’d get it for her as a present.”

Brian Reeder, Grandson of Sheila Reeder

Sheila — aka Gran — said, “just wanted to do it, I couldn’t tell you the reason why”, but truth be told, a taste for adventure runs in the Reeder family.

“I would say I like to do crazy things. On my 80th birthday, my kids gave me a present of a hot air balloon ride which I loved! I did that in Canada.”

Sheila Reeder

Sheila is no stranger to airplanes. Her son, Tom Reeder is a retired American Airline pilot, and now, a frequent flyer of his beloved Piper Cub seaplane. Sheila says one of her proudest moments was being Tom’s first passenger upon him earning his pilot license, but jumping out of a plane is a whole other ballgame, and at 91, it makes one ask themself: what’s her secret?

“To tell you the truth I don’t really believe I’m 91, haha. I think that’s one of the reasons, and I don’t think there’s anything I can’t still do if I want to do it if I try and to me age is just a state of mind and if you don’t mind it, then you’re fine.”

Sheila Reeder

When Sheila arrived at Piedmont Skydiving in North Carolina with her son, daughter-in-law, and grandson Brian she says she initially didn’t have any nerves. She got suited up in her harness and followed tandem instructor Kyle’s lead.

As Sheila approached the plane, chants broke out from those in attendance.

“When we started towards the plane all these young people started calling, “Go Gran, go Gran, go Gran! One called me granny, and I said no, no, no, I’m not a granny, you only call me Gran! Ha.”

Sheila Reeder

As the plane began to gain altitude, grandson Brian Reeder says he saw the first sign of apprehension.

“I was like, ‘you ready Gran?’ She looked over at me and was just like,’ is it, do we have time to not do this? haha’

Brian Reeder, Grandson of Sheila Reeder

“I was fine until I had to sit down at this open space that you jump out of and hang my legs over the side of the plane and I thought to myself, ‘oh my goodness, is it too late to say I don’t want to do this?’ Just as I thought that Kyle pushed us out and the way we went into a freefall.”

Sheila Reeder

Sheila says once Kyle pulled the parachute it was like heaven as she glided down.

The skydiving adventure alongside her grandson was an incredible bonding experience for the entire Reeder crew and a testament that age has no barrier to what you can do.

“I do grow older, I can’t stop doing that. I just don’t think you should limit yourself. If you’re physically able and maybe mentally able to do what you want, how much more years have you got to do it?”

Sheila Reeder

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