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Local Marine dies in skydiving accident

A Brookville High School graduate was killed during a skydiving accident in Australia during a trip his wife won as a prize on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Brandon McGraw, 33, a Marine who was stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C., died Saturday afternoon in Euroa, Australia, while on vacation with his wife, Cherilyn.

According to a report in the The (Jacksonville, N.C.) Daily News, McGraw watched his wife do a tandem jump and then he exited the plane.

In an interview with the newspaper, an employee of the skydiving school said McGraw’s jump was going fine until shortly before landing, when his parachute turned sharply left and right and he crashed into the ground.

Emergency crews were called to the accident, but McGraw died at the scene.

The employee of the skydiving school told the newspaper that McGraw completed the steps necessary to perform a solo jump, including presenting the proper documentation.

McGraw returned to Camp Lejeune from Afghanistan recently, the paper said. He is a 2001 graduate of Brookville High School, school officials said.

McGraw was a dynamic and patriotic young man who was an ideal ambassador of the local community, said Brookville Local Schools Superintendent Timothy Hopkins.

“While serving in the military he has come back to the school on numerous occasions and connected with students and talked with students and actually served as a speaker one year at our Veterans Day program,” Hopkins said. “He was very proud of his military service, and we were very proud of him for that military service.”

Cherilyn McGraw is from West Chester Twp., but she lives in Hampstead, N.C., according to her Facebook page. She works with special-needs elementary school students.

The couple were in Australia after she appeared on the Ellen Show.

Cherilyn McGraw was called out of the crowd at a taping of the show to participate in a game called “Stuff Your Down Underpants.”

She and another contestant put on oversized pants, placed beachball-sized balls in their pants and tried to be the first to cross a finish line.

Cherilyn McGraw proved victorious. She hugged DeGeneres after hopping across the line first.

On Monday, she posted on her Facebook page: “My hero. My angel. These are truly such symbolic photos. He was happy and doing what he loved. It’s amazing all that photos can capture in a moments time. The last 2 photos taken. I love you more than anything in the world, honey. You are the most amazing man.”

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