Doris Fosbenner after her ride in the hot air ballon. Photo credit: Randy Monceaux

A Pennsylvania long-term care resident spent an early evening floating across the skies after facility leaders made her lifelong dream of riding a hot air balloon come true. 

The Phoebe Richland Health Care Center, in Richlandtown, PA, set up 85-year-old Doris Fosbenner’s ride in mid-September to fulfill her wish.

Fosbenner shared a story with staff about a childhood experience when she witnessed a hot air balloon flight in her hometown of Telford, PA. She never got a chance to take a ride personally, however.

Staff members learned of her story during a discussion group where residents talk about any forgotten dreams they wanted to fulfill, according to Jodi Pitta, a retired community life assistant at Phoebe Richland. 

The staffers committed to making the dream happen but soon realized that finding a hot air balloon pilot “was harder than [they] thought” since they needed a pilot who could accommodate wheelchairs, according to AnnMarie Pettito-Thomas, community life lead at Phoebe Richland. 

Doris Fosbenner smiles while riding in the hot air ballon. Photo credit: Randy Monceaux

Luckily, they found Lehigh Valley Hot Air, a family-owned hot air balloon company operated by local pilot Will Randell. 

“We love making wishes come true,” Randell said. “Safety is our number one priority. Everything depends on the weather for hot air balloon rides. What feels like a light breeze on the ground may be too much for the balloon as it ascends.”

Fosbenner’s trip on the hot air balloon went off without any problems and allowed her to float above the local community while friends, family and staff cheered her on. 

“I could see all of you waving up at me,” Fosbenner said after the ride. “It was great!”

It’s what memories lighter than air are made of.