Hartmann Village celebrates “Up, Up and Away Day”

Velma Lang
Special to the Boonville Daily News
Herma Porter was pleasantly surprised to receive an e-mail after launching her balloon with a note during "Up, up and away day" at Hartmann Village in Boonville. Porter's balloon traveled over 700 miles, where a gentleman noticed the balloon while walking on the shore of Lake Superior in Michigan.
Herma Porter, age 96, watches her balloon float away during "Up, up and away day" recently at Hartmann Village.

It was a windy afternoon on May 6th as residents of Hartmann Village celebrated “Up, Up and Away Day” by letting balloons free.

Each had their own individualized balloon with a note attached. Herma Porter, 96, set her purple balloon free and believed it more than likely became a tree ornament. The balloon was caught in a low wind current and swooped over the roof of Hartmann Village and was gone.

Ten days passed and doubts of over hearing from anyone; an email addressed to Porter arrived. It was from a gentleman who happened to find her balloon while walking along the shore of Lake Superior. He told of finding the balloon and thanked her for brightening his day. He commented on his children, where he lives and a little about himself.

Porter was elated and totally surprised! Her dollar balloon had traveled 700 or so miles.

Porter wrote back, and he in return, wrote back. He talked more about the area he lived and where her balloon was found, about his children and livelihood. He was a registered nurse, a paramedic and a firefighter. He also explained that he had worked at an assisted living home before. He disclosed that he had told a friend of his who was a teacher about the balloon he had found. He told Porter that she might be receiving some “fun mail” from the students as they were excited about the balloon story.

And soon, a package arrived. It contained an art painting, created especially for Porter, by his 10 year old daughter. The package contained Michigan candy, postcards of Lake Superior and other related items. It also included school pictures of his children.

Porter is in the process of sending some locally made items of Boonville and Pilot Grove, where she lived on a farm with her husband and raised their children.

“I never expected anything like this!” says Porter. “When I set my balloon off, I never even gave it a second thought!”