Posted: Nov 11, 2012 8:23 PM by Mitch Bryan
Updated: Nov 12, 2012 1:53 PM
ALICE - In honor of Veterans' Day, our Mitch Bryan went to the Alice Veteran's Day Celebration to speak with a soldier who is about to make a big jump into a new life out of the military.
For the past 20 years, Allen McCollum has worked as a parachute rigger for the Army while stationed in Yuma, Arizona.
Today he looks forward to probably his last jump as a soldier, before his big day later this month.
"My retirement ceremony is coming up on the 21st of November," Allen said.
At the Alice Veterans' Day Ceremony, Allen loaded up into a plane with some members of Skydive South Texas for a Veteran's Day jump. Different from most of the jumps in his career, this one was to honor of those who, like Allen, have spent their lives protecting America and our freedoms.
"It's gone by incredibly fast. But it's been a great experience, being in the military and serving our country," said Mccollum.
And though he says he's excited to start his new life as a retiree, Allen say's there's plenty he will miss. Like the people he's met along the way.
"That'll be hard for me to walk away from, but it definitely makes it easier when I know I got a wonderful, loving family and a beautiful wife waiting for me at home," he said.
As the plane circled overhead, the crowd raised their eyes skyward for the team's big jump.
With streamers flying and the flags waving, Allen and the team coasted down to Earth, having paid their respects to those who have fought for this country.
And though Allen says it's bittersweet to leave his military life behind, he says he has bigger responsibilities waiting for him.
"My family's really ready for me to be home on a more regular basis."
But that doesn't mean Allen's feet will remain on solid ground for very long. Because now he can risk his life jumping out of planes, for fun.
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