Kendall Park Man Celebrating 91st Birthday Skydiving for Food Pantry
Second annual "Aaron's Jump" to raise money for the South Brunswick Food Pantry.
Kendall Park resident Aaron Rosloff raised more than a few eyebrows last year when he told his friends how he would be celebrating his 90th birthday. Instead of a quiet, subdued get-together, Rosloff announced he would celebrate the milestone by jumping 8,000 feet from an airplane.
"I really got all kinds of reactions," Rosloff said last year. "When I sent out an email telling people, the first response I got said OMG.”
But Rosloff successfully completed his jump last July at the Williamstown Airport. Leading up to his birthday, he decided to turn the event into a fundraiser to help the less fortunate, by using his jump to benefit the South Brunswick Food Pantry. He said the fundraiser brought in about $3,000.
Now as his 91st birthday approaches this year, Rosloff is planning on doing it all again.
"It was a beautiful thing to go out of that plane and see the horizon from a mile up," he said. "It was something I'd never experienced before and is such a wonderful thing to see. Normally they jump from 13,500 feet, but unfortunately the sky was overcast, so we jumped from 8,000 feet. For the first mile and a half you just free fall, and then the chute opens and you do some gliding."
Rosloff's interest in aviation began at an early age he said, when as a child he couldn't get enough of making model airplanes.
"I started building those rubber band flying models of World War I planes when I was 10-years-old," he said. "My cousin used to joke that when you walked into my room you immediately had to duck because of all the airplanes hanging from the ceiling. As I grew older I became really interested in aviation and read a lot of books on the theory of flight. When the war started I decided I was going to enter it on my terms, so I enlisted in the Air Force, which was then called the Army Air Corps."
The World War II veteran was inspired to pursue his dream of jumping from a plane based off of his experience in the Air Force as crew chief for a maintenance crew during the war.
"It's something I wanted to do for a long time when I was in the Air Force," Rosloff said. "I would see students walking around with their chutes and always wondered what it would be like to jump. It always fascinated me."
As a longtime volunteer for community groups, Rosloff decided to try and turn his birthday into a way to aid the less fortunate in South Brunswick.
"It scared me when I first heard about it, but he said he's totally safe and wants to do it again," said Social Services Director LouAnne Wolf. "I think it's a testament to who Aaron is and what he's done with his life. He has always cared about this community going back years and years. He wants to do this, he knows there's a need and he wants to help us in whatever way he can."
The pantry is currently seeing up to approximately 60 families per month, with an average of two to six new families coming in for aid each month. For Rosloff, helping the less fortunate was a natural way to spend his birthday.
"My family has always been oriented towards helping others," he said. "I've been on the boards for Charleston Place and Oak Woods for over 20 years, and I helped to develop and build Oak Woods. The idea of helping people to make their lives a little better is something my family and I were always encouraged to do. I've always been a donor to the pantry, but this created an opportunity to really help in an area that I know the township really needs."
“Aaron's Jump” will be held on July 1 at the Williamstown Airport.
To donate to the South Brunswick Food Pantry as part of "Aaron's Jump," you can mail a check to:
South Brunswick Human Intervention Trust
PO Box 190
Monmouth Junction 08852
Attn: Social Services
Then write "Aaron's Jump" in the memo field.
For more information on how to help or to donate to the South Brunswick Food Pantry call 732-329-4000 ext. 7674. Items currently in need are snack foods, personal needs products like shampoo, soap and toothpaste, coffee and tea.
"When I first thought of doing this, I didn't think of it as a fundraiser. For me it was just about having fun," Rosloff said. "As long as my health holds out, I'm going to do this annually until I reach 100-years-old, whichever comes first."