Seniors go up, up and away

Several Island seniors gathered at the Sportsmen’s Club early Monday morning to do something they had never done before: take a ride in a hot air balloon.

This opportunity came because one resident, Elaine Nelson, mentioned to Vashon Community Care (VCC) employee LoAnne Forschmiedt that one of her regrets was that she never had experienced such a ride.

More than a year ago, Forschmiedt set about trying to make that dream come true. She contacted the Jeremy Bloom Wish of a Lifetime Foundation, which helped make this day possible and arranged for Morning Star Balloons of Battle Ground, Wash., to come to the Island.

“I am so thrilled,” Forschmiedt said, taking in the early morning scene.

She was not alone. Five residents went for a ride in the tethered balloon, including Anne Kappelman. “Fun, fun, fun,” she enthused, “It was lots of fun.”

Ralph Eister, 92, recently took a photography class at VCC and had his camera in hand when he went up. Unfortunately, winds kept the balloon below tree line. “I wanted to get above the trees to take pictures,” he said.

Don Steele, 93 and known to many for his potted plants, said he came out of the desire to try it. “It was my first flight,” he said.


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