When Bryghton Berkey released a balloon from New London on Wednesday, Sept. 25, little did he know that the balloon would be found in Stamping Ground, Kentucky, on Monday, Sept. 30, after traveling about 570 miles.
Nearly 50 helium balloons were released by local AWANA Club kids, ages 4-12, near New London’s Lincoln School on Wednesday, Sept. 25. AWANA is an acronym for “Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed”, which is taken from 2 Timothy 2:15.
Each balloon had a card tied to the string, listing the student’s name and the date and place from which the balloon was released. A scripture verse – John 3:16 – was printed at the bottom of each card. A note on the card asked the finder to mail the card back to New London so that the kids could see how far their balloons travelled.
“The key of this event is to teach kids that they can share God’s word through simple methods like releasing these balloons,” said Club Leader Norb Witkowski.
Berkey’s balloon is the first to be returned this year, so he was awarded a SpongeBob puzzle as a prize. The entire club will enjoy a pizza party together when they meet on Wednesday, Nov. 13.
Witkowski said the distance between New London, Wisconsin, and Stamping Ground, Kentucky, is about 570 miles by road or 480 miles as the crow flies. The returned card was postmarked from Lexington, Kentucky.
The students used TufTex balloons, which are thicker than normal balloons, and a bit larger. Club leaders filled the balloons with helium and added HiFloat, as this substance is believed to help keep the balloons up in the air 10 times longer than a normal balloon.
“So far, Bryghton’s balloon is the only one that has come back,” said Witkowski. “We may get more back in the near future, with hunters taking to the woods.”