By Michael Butler
"Johnny, you're about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane." And Johnny did. The line from the movie "Point Break" applies, and it happens to be one of Tallassee mayor Johnny Hammock's favorites. Check skydiving off of his bucket list.
"I loved "Point Break." I had it on cassette, DVD, whatever. Anytime it's on I watch it," Hammock said. "It's something I always wanted to do."
Hammock drove with his wife Kim to Bonifay, Fla. on Sunday, May 17 and made his first skyjump from 14,000 feet. The first lady of Tallassee was just a spectator.
"I told Kim I'm going down Sunday if you want to go with me. She's like, 'I'm not jumping.'
"I've always dreamed of jumping out of an airplane, but you need to weigh under 240 pounds. I told myself I was going to jump out of a plane if I lost this weight. I've been under 240 going on four years now."
It looked like the trip might be for naught after rain caused about a lengthy delay.
"We sat in that hangar for about three hours. Disappointment was about to set in."
A break in the weather changed the mayor's fate and he boarded the plane.
"I wasn't scared or nervous. I was excited. It was like back when I played football before you came out of the locker room. It was a rush. Then that door opened. I rolled out of that plane. It's about four minutes. You freefall for about 70 seconds."
A YouTube video captures the scene with the title of the post, "The Mayor of Tallassee Flies!" Hammock confesses to being a thrill seeker going back to his youth.
"When I was in high school I dove off Kowaliga Bridge. I jumped off of Chimney Rock and Rednose Rock. I've always been a kind of daredevil. This was a way of rewarding myself for losing the weight and keeping it off."
So, will Hammock skydive again?
"I think I'll do it again. It's beautiful. It was surreal. I'd recommend it to anybody."