FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WVNS) — Saturday, July, 16, 2022, was a memorable day because there was a sign unveiling for Burton Ervin, the man who became the Father of Bridge Day.

On August 17, 1979, Burton Ervin made history as the first man to BASE jump from the New River Gorge Bridge, illegally.

“He was picked up by the police afterwards, but after that it was kind of his main focus to create something that would make that illegal event, and that’s pretty much how Bridge Day came about,” said Tim Naylor, the Executive Assistant for the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce.

BASE jumping in the 1970s was an exciting risk, but Burton Ervin wanted to do the impossible.

He had factors he needed to think about jumping from an 876 foot drop, but he did it, in the dead of the night and came out victorious in the end, starting a trend with BASE jumpers and rappellers that is still continuing every year to this day.

Ervin passed away on October 19, 2017, just 2 days before the 40th anniversary of Bridge Day.

“Last year, his wife and his daughter came to us because they saved some money from when he passed away, they took donations because they wanted to have some memorial for him, and the sign was what they were looking for,” mentioned Naylor.

The sign that preserves Burton Ervin’s memory resides at the office at the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce, reminding all that stop to read about him, his accomplishments and for future BASE jumpers and rappellers to be inspired.