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20120106_SkysTHEimit_2SOUTH PADRE ISLAND -  Jean Moudry of Mission with her bright red hair and her bold red nails stood with her hands clasped together at her chest as she waited for her ride to destiny.

After years of debating with herself and friends, the 82-year-old Nebraska native finally set her sights on her dream crusade of soaring through the clouds in a Cessna plane before jumping at approximately 12,000 feet in the air with a parachute for her 83rd birthday.

Joined by friends and family, Moudry, an Ann Richards Middle School volunteer, said the skydiving adventure was part of her bucket list of things she wanted to do in life.

“I don’t feel I should be 83,” she said. “If I just sit on a rock then you really get old.”

A former registered nurse who started spending winters in Mission in 1982 before becoming a full-time resident in 1995, Moudry said she became interested in skydiving after reading an article about SkyDive South Padre Island, which is located at Clayton’s Beach Bar & Grill.

Frank Shisler, the owner of SkyDrive, said his company has been on the island for nearly two years, taking about 1,700 people on one of the most exhilarating rides of their life.

Shisler and his team take participants from the island to the Brownsville airport where they’re put in a small Cessna plane and brought back to their original site for their jump about two miles above the beach.

“There’s one minute of free falling with a five-to-seven-minute parachute ride,” he said.

Shisler has 17 years of experience in skydiving with nearly 10,000 jumps under his belt.

20120106_SKYtheLIMIT_EPG_0004Moudry, whose other bucket list items include more traveling across the globe, was anxious to finally get onto the plane Wednesday afternoon.

“I like to do different things. I’ve gone white water rafting, but that’s not exciting,” she said. “Once I jump I’ll be fine. I don’t expect any problems.”

Friends said they were both excited and a bit shocked by Moudry’s plans for her birthday, which is Sunday.

“I can’t get over it,” said Sis Shea, a Palmview Winter Texan. “I always said she’d never do it.”

Ann Richards Middle School teacher Velma Garza who traveled to watch Moudry’s jump said her actions are inspirational to the students she works with.

“These kids have their lives ahead of them and she wants them to accomplish everything in life before they get married,” Garza said as she walked onto the beach. “I want to show the students this video of her so they can know that if she can do it, they can reach to the highest places, too. After all, if you shoot for the stars and fail, you’re still among the stars. That’s important to these kids.”

Moudry, who Garza described as a uniquem lively woman, helps middle school students struggling with English improve their reading and writing skills.

“I just can’t play bridge everyday,” she said. “I have to do something that’s helping someone else.”

Upon her landing back onto the beach, Moudry said she felt cold and a little wobbly.

“It was a bit windy up there, but it was fine,” she said. “I had a nice view.”

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