Local senior, 90, marks big check off his bucket list
Grand Living Correspondent
“I intended on jumping out of a perfectly good airplane!”
Alan Inglis was 89 years old when he made the decision to go skydiving to celebrate his 90th birthday.
“I created a whole bucket list!” Inglis declared. “Since I’ve been with HopeWest I have been feeling better. I’m excited about life again! And at the top of my bucket list was to make my 15th parachute jump.”
Jeanine Wagner, Inglis’ HopeWest nurse, had really gotten to know Inglis as she cared for him. Through his enthusiasm for life and unwillingness to let his health conditions damper his spirit, she became fond of his positive attitude and determination to overcome his current circumstances.
When Inglis became a patient at HopeWest, he was seeking aggressive treatment for his lung disease after having three heart attacks in the previous years. The medication used to treat his lung disease was reducing his energy, appetite and quality of life. Inglis and his family decided that the medication was too harsh and that they would discontinue the treatment and focus on making him as comfortable and healthy as possible.
“I’m just having too much fun with life to die now! That’s why I love HopeWest! They’ve been too good to me, keeping me healthy and fit so I can continue to live my life exactly how I want to,” said Inglis.
“Quality of life and continuing to do the things that you love is what HopeWest is all about. HopeWest encourages people to continue striving for their goals, living life to the fullest up to the last moment,” Jeanine said with a smile.
“I couldn’t wait to get back up in the air again. Of course, it had been about 70 years since I had last jumped out of an airplane,” Inglis said.
Inglis was a smoke jumper during World War II, serving in the Civilian Public Services as a conscientious objector. Along with 12,000 other draftees, the conscientious objectors performed work of national importance around the country. Inglis was stationed in Missoula, Mont., volunteering for a smoke-jumping program.
“I made 14 jumps back in those days.” Memories flooded in as Inglis spoke. “I wanted to serve in a way that I felt was personally dangerous, because I knew overseas they were doing the same thing in the war to protect us back at home.”
Wagner smiled at Inglis’ courage and sincerity, qualities she recognizes in him all too well after each day she has spent with him.
“I’m surprised I’m here today after some of the things I’ve been through.” Inglis stated. “And I decided that I want to make the most of the time I have left. I had always thought about jumping again and I’m glad I did.”
On Monday, July 15, at 1 p.m., Inglis got to check the parachute jump off of his bucket list.
“It wasn’t scary to me,” Inglis said. “It seemed very natural to be in the air hanging below a parachute again. It all came back to me how I used to float through the winds. Of course, the equipment is a little bit different than it was 70 years ago.”
Wagner’s eyes smiled and she laughed as Inglis finished his story, “Now that I’ve done my parachute jump you have to help me start planning the next thing I check off my bucket list!”
To get more information about HopeWest (Hospice & Palliative Care of Western Colorado) and their programs, call 970-241-2212 or go online http://www.HopeWestCO.org.
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