I was captivated when Amy Young told me her mother, Mary Grippin, had recently adventure parachuted from an airplane. Amy and I are both members of the Flagstaff Pedestrian Advisory Committee and have often talked about how important active participation is to health. Not only does the family dog need to walk daily so do its human companions.

Amy is the Management Assistant to Coconino County Manager Cynthia Seelhammer and holds a Master of Administration, Heath Services, from Northern Arizona University. When she joined the PAC she did so because of her belief walking is one of the best and easiest ways to maintain a reliable level of physical well-being. I couldn't agree more.

So, how did Mary Grippin get involved with the idea that leaping out of a high-flying airplane, free-falling toward the earth and deploying a parachute in time to allow for a slow, measured descent would be fun?

She told me gleefully her airplane pilot husband would have asked her why do such a thing when all you have to do is wait for the plane to land. Mary credits her hours of flying with him for enabling her to gain the confidence to participate in such an adventure.

Mary, grandmother to18 and great grandmother of 6, jumped with an experienced skydiver over Cottonwood. She had a great time, although the winds on high were extremely turbulent.

But once free of the aircraft it was a beautiful ride into a field of wildflowers. Amy also jumped that day, so being adventuresome seems to run in the family. Three cheers for Mary Grippin and her daughter, Amy, too!

And moving on to a different activity, the annual Flagstaff Walks schedule started last Saturday at the Arizona Trail Day Celebration in Buffalo Park and the whole schedule will finish at the Flagstaff Fifteen-Minute Makeover, which will be at the Downtown Mountain Line Bus Transit Center on Sunday, October 15, at 10:15 a.m.

The Pedestrian Advisory Committee, the sponsor of Flagstaff Walks, will feature two more walks that will start from the Community Market at City Hall on Sunday mornings at 9 a.m. They are the Mural Walk on Sept. 17 and Frances Short Pond Walk on October 1.

There will also be a Geology Walk at noon on Friday, Sept. 22, starting from the Milligan House located at 323 West Aspen and led by Geologist Joe Kane, plus a Southside History Walk on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 9 a.m. starting from the Murdoch Center on Butler and led by Jane Jackson and Steve Hirst.

The PAC will celebrate International Walk To School Day on Wednesday, Oct.5. For complete details or to volunteer at one of the four participating schools -- Kinsey, Marshall, Sechrist or Thomas -- contact Kim Austin at kaustin@coconino.az.gov.

Crossing Guard Appreciation Day is also that day at the four listed schools. You can join us to honor Billy Weldon at his crossing guard station at Marshall School at 8:30 a.m. That activity, plus his devoted work on behalf of local veterans, has made him a treasured gem of our Flagstaff community.


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