100-year-old Greenville woman gets hot air balloon ride for her birthday

100-year-old Greenville woman gets hot air balloon ride for her birthday

GREENVILLE, MICH. - A few weeks ago, WZZM profiled a 100-year old man from Shelby, Mich., looking to celebrate hitting the century mark by returning to the cockpit and piloting a plane.
Percy Skinner is his name, and he did it.
It appears there's something about turning 100 years old that's causing people to feel the urge to take flight.
"My grandmother has been saying for several years that one of her life-long dreams was to take a ride in a hot air balloon," Terry Visser said.

Visser's grandmother's is Evelyn Jansma of Grand Rapids. She'll be 101 years old on Oct. 23 of this year.
"I contacted Michigan Balloon Adventures, which is home-based in Mason, Michigan," Visser said. "When I told them the ride was a birthday present for my grandma, who was turning 100, they offered to give her the ride for free."
Evelyn's ride may have happened 10 months after her 100th birthday, but some of the most memorable birthday presents come better late than never.
Evelyn and several close family members and friends, gathered in an open field in Greenville, Mich., last Saturday morning.
"This is something I've looked forward to for a very long time," said Evelyn, before she boarded the balloon's basket. "I'm excited because I got a telephone call from my grandson and he said, 'you want to go for a balloon ride on Saturday?
"And I said, 'Yes I do; yes I do; yes I do.'"
Once the balloon was ready to take off, Evelyn was lifted out of her wheelchair and placed inside the basket of the balloon. There was a seat put inside the basket for her to sit on.
Moments later, captain Tom Burgeon lifted the balloon off the ground, and Evelyn was aloft.
"Her balloon ride lasted about 40 minutes," added Visser, who accompanied her for the ride. "It's just great to be able to give back like this; seeing her face during that ride was priceless.
"It's the ultimate birthday present for her. How many people can say they got a hot air balloon ride at a hundred years old, almost 101?"
Captain Burgeon told Evelyn after the flight that her next free balloon ride will be for her 110th birthday, so she has a little more than 9 years of anticipation.

(© 2016 WZZM)



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