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Local man celebrates birthday by skydiving

Imagine freefalling from a plane and then floating safely to the ground via parachute. It might not seem like a good way to spend the afternoon for many, but for 75-year-old Raymond Hall, it’s a great way to usher in a new year of life.
Russellville native Hall has been spending his last three birthdays jumping out of airplanes in Cullman with the help of Skydive Alabama.
“I’ve done it three times, and I enjoy it more and more each time,” Hall said.
Hall said his love for plunging to the earth comes from a lifelong dream to jump from an airplane.
“I was in the military for 20 years and I worked with parachutes but I never got to jump myself,” Hall explained. “But, once I got out of the military, every time I would mention jumping from a plane,  my wife would just clam up and I figured I’d just let it go because she got so upset.”
Hall lost his wife five years ago.
“A few years after she died, I decided I had better start doing things while I still had time so three years ago, I went skydiving for the first time,” Hall said.
Hall said the first skydiving adventure made him a little nervous at first but once he did it, he couldn’t wait to do it again.
“Everyone who wants to do this should do it,” he said. “once they do it, they will want to do it again.”
Hall said this trip to  Cullman was a little different because he and his expert jumper were going to attempt a standing landing.
“He said if he said to we would do a stand up landing, but he never said to do it so we just landed like always,” Hall said. “The wind has got to be just right to attempt that kind of landing and he’s the expert.”
Hall said his family members have joined him in  his sky diving adventures.
“It’s amazing the way you feel up there,” Hall said.
Hall’s favorite part of the jump is the floating when the parachute is deployed.
“My first time, I thought it would hurt they way the parachute kind of jerks you but it didn’t, and the landing didn’t hurt either,”  Hall said.
Hall plans to spend as many birthdays at Skydive Alabama as possible.
“I am going to do it as long as my health holds out,” Hall said.