"Project Uplift NC to Raise Spirits of Veterans, Children & Families Living with Mobility Challenges"
Hot Air Marketing, organizers of the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest, announced today the launch of Project Uplift NC- a wheelchair accessible hot air balloon program funded through a sponsorship by the Raleigh Jaycees.
The mission of Project Uplift NC is to provide greater access to a hot air balloon experience to those who may have mobility-related challenges due injuries sustained while in uniform.
Funds provided by the Raleigh Jaycees will go toward fabrication of specially designed gondola featuring a clear, reinforced lexan sidewall that, when opened, offers ease of access to passengers. Traditional baskets require passengers to climb over sidewalls using a step hole or step ladder.
“We believe Project Uplift NC will do as much to raise spirits as it will the bodies of our American service men and women.” said Brian Hoyle, a hot air balloon pilot and lead organizer of the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest. “We’ve seen time and again those who experience hot air balloons begin to see the world through the eyes of opportunity rather than limitation. That’s what Project Uplift NC is really about.”
“The leadership of the Raleigh Jaycees to undertake a program of this magnitude in honor of those who have given so much service to others is quite humbling.” said Hoyle.
“The Jaycees Creed ends with our belief that ‛earth's great treasure lies in human personality; and that service to humanity is the best work of life,’” said Raleigh Jaycees president Brandon Joyce. “The sacrifices our service men and women make to ensure our nation’s safety and freedom embody these values. In years past, the Raleigh Jaycees have teamed up to support our military in many ways and we are proud to have the chance to support them in this way.”
Project Uplift NC is a year-round, multi-year initiative. Beyond the scope of the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest and serving military populations, Project Uplift NC will offer hot air balloon experiences to other populations living with mobility challenges, such as the elderly and children living with mobility related challenges. Those working with such populations are encouraged to reach out to Hot Air Marketing to schedule tethered balloon ride experiences or to provide on-going operational sponsorship funding.
About the Raleigh Jaycees
The Raleigh Junior Chamber, more commonly known as the Raleigh Jaycees, is a proud affiliate of the N.C. Junior Chamber, the U.S. Junior Chamber and Junior Chamber International. The Raleigh Jaycees are young professionals, ages 21-40, with an interest in leadership development through community service. Chartered in 1932, the Raleigh Jaycees is an all-volunteer civic organization that runs over 100 community service and leadership development projects each year - annually donating over $65,000 and countless volunteer hours to area organizations through various projects.
More information about the Raleigh Jaycees and membership involvement opportunities is available at www.raleighjaycees.org.
About the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest
Freedom Balloon Fest is a free community event supported almost entirely through sponsors. The festival’s title sponsor is WRAL and Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. The core mission of the festival to celebrate of our nation’s freedom, to recognize the courage and dedication of our veterans, and to honor our fallen service men and women. Additionally, festival organizers are working to build greater awareness of the sport of hot air ballooning and to create an event that celebrates community engagement. The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest is produced by Hot Air Marketing. Based in Raleigh, NC, Hot Air Marketing, LLC is an experiential marketing company, which utilizes the inspiring power of hot air balloons as a vehicle for connecting communities, consumers and brands.
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