Lincoln 88-year-old checks another item off her bucket list

Veronica Tharnish goes skydiving for the first time
Published: Jun. 3, 2022 at 9:02 PM CDT
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CRETE, Neb. (KOLN) - At Skydive Atlas in Crete on Friday, Veronica Tharnish checked another item off her bucket list. She went skydiving with her granddaughter, Samantha.

Veronica has wanted to go skydiving ever since she saw President George H.W. Bush do it for his 90th birthday several years ago, and when her husband passed away last year, she had a realization.

“Why wait? I don’t know how much time I’ll be on this earth, so why wait?” Veronica said.

Her son didn’t even know she had a bucket list, and thought everything was probably already complete, but he was willing to help

“She doesn’t just sit on her couch, she does stuff, she moves around, she keeps busy, and this is just another example of how you can live life at 88 to the fullest,” Gary Tharnish, Veronica’s son, said.

For Christmas, Veronica’s five children gifted her a jump at Skydive Atlas. On Friday, she strapped into a harness just four days after her 88th birthday. Not wanting to go alone, her 25-year-old granddaughter, Samantha, got into a harness right beside her.

“I mean, I’ve never done it, and I would probably only do it in a circumstance like this, so I just decided to do it with her,” Samantha Petersen, Veronica’s granddaughter, said.

Samantha is one of Veronica’s 11 grandchildren and is also Veronica’s newest neighbor in Lincoln. She watched her grandma jump out of the plane right before her own jump.

“I wasn’t nervous for myself, but I was a little nervous for her, and she jumped first, so I kind of had to watch her jump which was a little nerve-wracking, but she did good,” Samantha said.

Veronica was just fine though.

“In the plane I was fine. When they opened the door to jump out. I was, you know, big rush came through me, but I was okay because I had someone with me.”

From the moment family and friends saw the plane take off to seeing the parachutes open minutes later, they couldn’t stop talking about how inspirational Veronica is and how much she has accomplished.

“It’s really humbling hearing that because I feel like I’m just an ordinary person... maybe just doing extraordinary things,” Veronica said.

Another item Veronica just crossed off her bucket list is weightlifting her age. She recently squatted 88 pounds, and she can deadlift 122 pounds.

If you’re wondering if Veronica will skydive again, she said no for now, but she might reconsider her decision another day.

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