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Overcoming fear can bring a rush of satisfaction

“The point of maximum danger is the point of minimum fear,“according to a popular Will Smith quote.

Living that favorite quote, Sgt. Blake Gaynor of the United States Army Golden Knights Parachute Team stands at the edge of a Fokker C-31A Troopship door, bracing against the turbulence before leaping 12,500 feet. Golden Knights have performed more than 17,000 shows around the world, like last weekend’s Shop ‘n Save Westmoreland County Airshow at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport.

“I really enjoy the peacefulness of jumping out of an airplane,” said Gaynor of Dallas. “Once you get out there, it’s just you, the elements, mother nature and your parachute.”

After a two month grueling selection process and hundreds of free falls Sgt. Gaynor earn a spot, along with 82 current members, on the of the Golden Knights.

“I just needed to do something more with my life…working cash registers really wasn’t for me,” said Gaynor.. “I just needed the sense of adventure that the Army has really been able to gratify for me.”

Even a fear of heights did not stop Sgt. Gaynor from pursing his dream. He described his emotions leading up to his first jump as “terrifying.

But once he reached his maximum point of danger, he said he felt at peace soaring through the atmosphere.

As his blue eyes widened, Sgt. Gaynor said, “Few things in life are quite as gratifying as overcoming one of your fears.”