92-year-old veteran to parachute from plane at 10,000 feet

On Saturday, Rev. Wesley Oake of Gander will parachute from an aircraft in Annapolis Valley, N.S., to raise funds for Gander Heritage Memorial Park.

A 92-year-old veteran and retired United Church minister is taking on a fundraising endeavour that few people would sign up for.

When I jump out of that plane, I am jumping out into the arms of almighty God, and he will take me safely up to heaven — or down to earth.- Rev. Wesley Oake 

On Saturday, Rev. Wesley Oake of Gander will parachute from an aircraft at 10,000 feet (3,048 metres), to raise money for the completion of the Gander Heritage Memorial Park. 

The tandem jump is being coordinated with the Atlantic School of Skydiving in Annapolis Valley, N.S.  

Oake, who celebrated his 92nd birthday on May 31, served in the Second World War with the 166th Royal Newfoundland Field Artillery Regiment in England, Africa and Italy. 

He is the honorary patron of the Gander Heritage Memorial Park, which is undergoing a complete reconstruction.

In an interview with On the Go host Ted Blades on Wednesday, Oake said he's excited about this weekend's event. 

"This will be my first jump," said Oake.

"Well, what made me decide is what Gander Heritage Park is all about. I volunteered to raise funds, to get people to sponsor me. And the reason for it, is not for my glory or because I'm a veteran of World War II, but because of the veterans who paid the supreme sacrifice." 

Oake will have assistance with his skydive – he will be harnessed with an instructor from the school.

The sky's the limit  

"It makes me feel good ... I've been planning it for over a year, and the military was supposed to do it, you know, here in Gander. And about a month ago, the higher-ups decided they weren't going to do it. So then I had to get an alternative, so we contacted the Atlantic School of Skydiving in Nova Scotia."

When asked if he was scared about landing on a pair of 92-year-old ankles, Oake said he doesn't feel any different now than what he felt like at the age of 40.

"When I jump out of that plane, I am jumping out into the arms of almighty God, and he will take me safely up to heaven — or down to earth."

Oake is hoping to raise at least $100 for each 100 feet.

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