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Phoebe Richland resident fulfills lifelong dream of riding in hot air balloon


Doris Fosbenner, an 85-year-old resident of the Phoebe Richland Health Care Center, took a hot air balloon ride on Sept. 13, fulfilling her lifelong desire to float above her beloved Upper Bucks community.
As the sun lowered in the September sky, Lehigh Valley Hot Air unfurled their colorful hot air balloon. Fosbenner and her Phoebe friends, family and neighbors watched with excitement. As a young woman, Fosbenner witnessed the flight of a hot air balloon near her hometown of Telford. This image was sealed in her mind until she was approached by the Phoebe Richland community life staff.
“During a discussion group, I asked if anyone had a forgotten dream they would like to fulfill. Doris shared her hot air balloon story,” said Jodi Pitta, retired community life assistant at Phoebe Richland. The Phoebe community life staff was committed to making it happen.
“Finding a hot air balloon pilot willing to fulfill this vision was harder than I thought,” said AnnMarie Petitto-Thomas, the Community Life Lead for Phoebe Richland. She needed to find a pilot that was able to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

Will Randell and Lehigh Valley Hot Air were thrilled to be a part of it. “We love making wishes come true,” said Randell, the hot air balloon pilot and owner/operator of the company. “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.”
After several weather-related postponements, Fosbenner’s ride went off without a hitch. After landing, she was helped out of the basket by Phoebe staff amidst cheers and applause.
“It was great!” said Fosbenner. “I could see all of you waving up at me.” Back on solid ground and surrounded by her friends and family, she beamed with joy and watched as others enjoyed a ride.