Lift off: Tickets aloft

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 24, 2014

Winds at five to seven miles per hour Thursday afternoon prevented the inflation of the tethered hot air balloon rides, but the spirits of the sponsoring event’s organizations were inflated 225 percent.

That’s the number of tickets that were sold for the Hot Air Balloon fundraiser to benefit Troy Regional Medical Center’s emergency room facility, said Karen Herring, TRMC director of marketing. “Other than the wind, it was perfect day.”

The Hot Air Balloon and Balloon Release was sponsored by the Troy Rotary Club and the Pike Medical Foundation with the funds raised going to the refurbishing of the TRMC emergency room waiting area and to purchase some equipment for the ER, said Steve Garrott, PMF chair.

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Tethered hot air balloon rides were planned to take place from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday and the balloon release was set for 5:30 p.m.

Garrott said the hot air balloon was inflated, but the velocity of the wind was such that it was unsafe to take riders up.

“Although we weren’t able to give hot air balloon rides, this was one of the best fundraising events that we’ve ever had,” Herring said. “It was well attended and supported by the community. Other than the wind, it was a perfect day

“The goal for ticket sales for the balloon release was 150, and we far exceed that. TRMC thanks the Troy Rotary Club and the Pike Medical Foundation for their sponsorship of this event and for their support of TRMC, always.”

The fundraiser featured the sale of balloons to be released and raced for 10 days.

“Because we were unable to offer the hot air balloon rides, we released the fundraising balloons a little early and they received a tremendous send-off,” said Keith Roling, Troy Rotary Club president. “It was a beautiful sight. Now, we’ll have to wait to see which balloon wins the race.”

Each balloon is tagged with reporting information and the number of the individual or team that purchased the balloon.

“The ticket holder of the winning balloon will win $1,000 and the one who finds and reports the winning balloon will get $100,” Roling said. “But the real winner is the community because of the improvements that will be made to the ER waiting room with the funds raised through this event.”

The Troy Rotary Club has applied to Rotary International for a matching grant in support of the fundraiser for the hospital. The match monies can be as much as $15,000.

“The Club won’t know about match money for a while, but already the fundraiser has been successful because of the community’s support of our hometown hospital,” Roling said.

The balloons will be tracked and, as each balloon is found and reported, it will be announced on WTBF Radio and in The Messenger.