Carl Oakes, 59, has fullfilled his dying wish in honor of his life-long love of horses.
Oakes donated $5,000 to A Little Bit of Heaven, a non-profit horse rehab center that takes in horses typically abused or from kill pens. Oakes' decision came because he has stage-four mesothelioma. Unsure of how much time he has left, he wanted to help fund a barn project.
"When I was driving, I would always see a lot of horses and people working horses," Oakes said. "So, I figured that was a good place to put the money."
While the couple still tries to cope with the terminal illness, they say donating for this barn was the right thing to do. And board members from A Little Bit of Heaven say this will help move the organization forward.
"A place like this is a huge asset, because we can use it for so many different things," says A Little Bit of Heaven secretary and co-treasurer Leigha Burkhalter. "It can be used as a safe, dry place. It can be used to lock a horse in that needs medical attention, needs to be quarantined, separated from the herd. There's so many possibilities."
And those possiblities for the barn make the Oakes family happy. They never visited the organization before, but felt passionate about A Little Bit of Heaven's mission.
"I was all for it, whatever he wanted to do," Loretta Oakes said of her husband Carl. "And the more he talked about his horse when he was little, the more I knew how important it was."
Loretta says she'll do whatever she can to help her husband.
"And if he wants to help horses, I'll go to the ends of the earth," she said. "Because I love horses too, but most importantly, I love him."