Clear skies forecast for Thursday’s balloon launch

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If the weather forecast holds, there should be fair skies and clear sailing for Thursday’s balloon launch at Troy Regional Medical Center.

A high of 76 is predicted under sunny skies with nothing more than a 5 mph breeze for Thursday.

The balloon launch that will give rise to the Troy Rotary-Pike Medical Foundation Great Balloon Race to benefit TRMC.

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Pre-launch festivities will be from 3 until 5 p.m. and will feature free tethered balloon rides. Hot dogs and soft drinks will be available.

Keith Roling, Troy Rotary Club president, said the idea for the balloon race fundraiser can be traced back to 1928 when the Troy Rotary Club sponsored a similar event as a fundraiser.

“I was rather intrigued by the idea of a balloon race that would pay dividends for our community hospital,” Roling said. “I’ve spent a good bit of time at TRMC as a visitor and know how important it is to have a comfortable place to wait. So, when I read about the balloon race the Troy Rotarians held nearly 90 years ago, I thought, why not us?”

Roling said tickets are still available for Thursday’s launch and it’s anybody’s race.

“Each balloon is $100 and will be tagged with reporting information and the purchasing individual or team’s number,” Roling said.

“The balloons will be tracked for 10 days and the balloon that travels the greatest distance from Troy will win $1,000. The balloon that traveled the greatest distance in the 1928 Rotary Balloon Race was found in Canada. There’s no telling where the winning balloon will be found in the 2014 Rotary-PMF Balloon Race.”

WTBF will announce each time a balloon is found and the number is called in to the station. The Messenger will publish photos of those who find the balloons on its Facebook page and in the print edition of the newspaper.

The person who finds the winning balloon will receive a $100 cash prize.

“The funds raised in the balloon race will be used to redo the hospital emergency room waiting area,” Roling said. “Those funds will be matched by the Rotary International Foundation.

“Those who would like to enter a balloon in the race still have time. It’s a different kind of race and the money goes for a very good cause.”

Troy Rotary- Pike Medical Foundation balloon tickets are available at TRMC or by calling 334-670-5487.

Tickets are also available from any member of the Troy Rotary Club and the PMF.

“Everyone is encouraged to come out Thursday and support our community hospital and enjoy the fellowship that comes with events like this,” Roling said. “Around dusk, we’ll launch the balloons and then it will be off to the races.”