It was a special Saturday for her in June, 1988. Her husband had given her a parachuting lesson as a gift. She was both excited and anxious as they drove to the Shelburne, Vermont airport. This was to be her first parachute jump!
Her instructor, Walter "Hawk" Leno, was an ultralight enthusiast and parachuting instructor who held several records for his airborne acrobatics. Walter gave attention to details to make sure everything worked right for a successful jump. He told everyone that if they ever jumped with him, he would get them down; that he would risk his life to save theirs; that if anyone was going to die, it was going to be him.
After receiving the necessary instruction and getting suited up, they both took off in the small plane from which the instructor and student would be making the jump. The plane climbed to 4,000 feet and leveled off. While her husband videoed the event from the ground, they fell end over end as they first left the plane.
Suddenly the student's primary chute became caught between her legs and became stuck there. Both Walter and his student were seen trying to loosen it. Finally Walter pulled her emergency chute open at about 600 feet.
If he had pulled his chute at the same time, the two chutes might have been entangled and neither would have worked properly. After getting her emergency chute open, Walter had to get clear of her or they both would have gone down. By the time Walter had gotten clear of her and pulled his own chute open, there was not enough time for his chute to open and he died on impact.
Based upon the video, it was just 23 seconds from when Walter and his student jumped from the plane and when he hit the ground traveling at 130 mph.
Walter gave his life for his student. He died to save her that she might live. "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13.
Walter, the parachutist, is remembered for giving his life for his student.
And this reminds me of the One who loved me and gave Himself for me and for every man, woman, boy and girl. Each of us is dead in sins and helpless to save ourselves from eternal death prepared for the devil and his angels.
But the good news is that God the Father sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world. The Lord Jesus came to die for you and me and save us from our sins and eternal death if we will believe on Him as our Lord and Saviour.
You may have only 23 seconds left of your life here on this earth. Won't you acknowledge your sin and come to the Lord Jesus believing that He died, was buried and arose from the grave for you, that you may have forgiveness of your sins and everlasting life with the Lord in heaven?
Jesus died your soul to save;
For your life He freely gave
All He had in heaven above,
Just to show His wondrous love.
Wondrous love so rich, so free—
Can it truly be for me?
Yes, dear friend, 'tis true, 'tis true,
All Christ did, He did for you.
Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved... Acts 16:31
A true story by Stephen Ross for WholesomeWords.org 2013.