84-year-old businessman makes tandem jump at fair
By Sean Barron
Fred Moran is proud to test the strength of his windows by standing on them, but when it came to ushering in the 173rd annual Canfield Fair’s official opening, he went to great heights to test his own durability.
“The first few seconds got my attention. Outside of that, I was looking forward to it,” the 84-year-old chief financial officer of Boardman-based Window World of Youngstown said after successfully completing a tandem parachute jump Thursday morning.
As soon as he successfully touched down in a small enclosed grassy area next to a section of farm equipment, many fairgoers greeted Moran with cheers.
The longtime businessman and Army veteran parachuted about 12,000 feet from a small plane that had taken off from the Youngstown Elser Metro Airport in North Lima.
Moran said that his legs were shaky during the initial 30 to 40 seconds of his jump, more because of the cold and wind at the high altitude than from nervousness. After his parachute opened, though, his surroundings were considerably calmer as he engaged in a smooth descent, Moran continued.
“When the opportunity came to skydive with the crew, the excitement was second only to being married to my wife of 61 years,” he joked during a ribbon-cutting ceremony after the jump.
Moran’s crew included retired Army Sgt. 1st Class Mike Elliott of Raeford, N.C., who was part of the Army’s Golden Knights Parachute Team.
Elliott, who has performed just under 14,000 jumps, is perhaps best known for accompanying President George H.W. Bush on three skydives – one each to rededicate the Bush Library in College Station, Texas, as well as for Bush’s 85th and 90th birthdays.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Moran, who served in the Army’s Infantry Division from 1957 to 1959, discussed Careers for Heroes, an initiative the Window World franchise launched to assist veterans of all ages and military branches with finding career opportunities upon their return home.
The resource also helps them compile resumes and be matched to careers aligned with their military and civilian experiences, according to its website, www.careersforheroes.org.
“We’ll do whatever we can for veterans,” Moran added.
“I’m proud of my dad. This has been on his bucket list, and he’s happy he got to do it,” Pat Moran, the 16-year-old business’s chief executive officer, said about his father’s parachute jump.
Also during the ceremony, fairgoers were encouraged to make donations toward the new $8.1 million Junior Fair events center that will be near Goshen and Wetmore lanes at the fairgrounds. A 36,400-square-foot facility will house the Junior Fair, and groundbreaking for the building is set for Sept. 25, fair officials have said.
In his remarks, U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, R-6th, praised 4-H, Future Farmers of America and other youth-oriented programs for their efforts toward promoting the value of agriculture.
Gov. Mike DeWine echoed Johnson’s sentiments, calling Junior Fair programs, 4-H and FFA “the heart and soul of the fair.”
Even the weather forecast didn’t escape some officials’ attention.
Dave Dickey, fair board president, called this year’s short- and long-term prediction “the Goldilocks syndrome,” by recalling that two years ago, the weather was too cold and last year’s conditions were too hot, but that this year’s combination of ideal temperatures in the mid- to high 70s and low humidity is just right.
Shortly before the ribbon to officially usher in this year’s fair was cut, veterans in the crowd were asked to stand and be recognized for their service.