Former President George H.W. Bush, right, is congratulated on his parachute jump by his son, former President George W. Bush, his wife Barbara Bush and his tandem team partner Mike Elliott on his 90th birthday in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Thursday. (Kenneth Wasley/All Veteran Parachute Team via The)
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KENNEBUNKPORT, MAINE — The veteran skydiver who made a tandem jump with former President George H.W. Bush on his 90th birthday is helping veterans overcome war injuries by taking a literal leap of faith.
Retired 1st Sgt. Mike Elliott, of Fayetteville, North Carolina, started a private skydiving team five years ago with a dream — and a single parachute — after retiring from the Army Golden Knights. These days, the All Veteran Group consists of 15 members who perform across the country to show support for veterans.
Elliott and the nation's 41st president have a long relationship and had made two jumps together before Thursday's leap from 6,300 feet in Maine.
He says jumping together from an aircraft creates a life-changing connection and the group is using that experience to help veterans.