An 87-year-old Jenkins county woman’s dream came true when she took to the skies on a hot air balloon ride for the first time. The idea was initially presented to Grace Royal, a resident of Pruitthealth-Bethany Nursing Home in Millen Georgia by the nursing home’s director of recreations.
Ms. Royal said director Brigham Hodges approached her bedside and asked if she would be interested in taking a shared hot air balloon flight alongside other residents of the facility. Mr. Hodges said her response was more than favorable, “We discussed that hot air balloon and she got very excited. You could see in her eyes that she glowed talking about it.”
The plan was for the hot air balloon to launch from one side of Statesboro located in nearby Burke county. The hot air balloon rides would then commence for roughly an hour and the balloon would touch down a few counties over.
When asked if she was experiencing any anxiousness prior to the flight, Ms. Royal responded with,”I’m not nervous.”
The flight ultimately went off without a hitch and Ms. Royal even indicated that given the chance she’d definitely take flight again. She said, “To be 87 and doing this for the first time, it’s good isn’t it.”
The hot air balloon ride was made possible by non-profit ‘wish’ facilitator Second Wind Dreams . Second Wind Dreams, established in 1997 is a globally recognized organization invested in the pursuit of improving the quality of life for senior citizens the world over. They also offer education instruction in how to better facilitate the needs of seniors via sensitivity training and dispelling stigmas regarding the aging process and social symptoms diagnoses of brain conditions like dementia.
Hot air balloon rides are just one of the types of activities or “dreams” they help to fulfill for members of the elderly community. Since the organization’s inception in 1997, they have fulfilled 10,000 wishes including first time skydiving adventures, trips to stunning vacation destinations, hot air balloon rides as in the case of Ms. Royal, and they have even assisted in a 91-year-old gentleman receiving his high school diploma.
In order to become a member of their community or to donate toward the fulfillment of a ‘dream” you can visit their office in Roswell, Georgia, office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, call 678.624.0500 or simply search their name and visit their website.