Walking through the Sparr Heights Community Center in Glendale on Thursday, Jay Fragoso was interrupted mid-stride.
“Jumping Jay,” a guest called out, beckoning him over for a handshake.
It is an appropriate moniker for a man who, at 72, is as comfortable interacting with his peers at the senior center as he is hurtling through the air at 120 mph.
On Jan. 18, Fragoso was part of a 15-person free-fall formation that set a world record for the largest skydiving formation of jumpers over the age of 70.
“What I enjoy is the free-fall,” the veteran skydiver and Highland Park resident said. “The parachute is just a means to get back down to the ground.”
Fragoso joined the Army in 1957 with aspirations of jumping with the Airborne Division. He was disqualified due to flat feet, and didn’t get his chance until decades later. But after making his first jump in 1980, skydiving quickly became a lifestyle.