Front Porch Senior Living residents are always on the go. Last Thursday, owner Angela Bell surprised them with a ride in a hot air balloon.

The residents loaded up unaware what was ahead for them, other than they were going to have a huge adventure. They did not realize it was a hot air balloon ride until they saw the balloon up in the air.

The Portland Fire Department offered the field behind the North Fire Hall for the balloon rides. Ace High Ballooning stretched out the balloon and began heating it up. As the balloon slowly started rising from the ground, the excitement grew.

Residents Peggy Boles and Amber Whitefield were the first two residents to take a ride in the balloon, which was tethered to the ground allowing the balloon to go 50 feet up in the air.

“I didn’t want to go up in the air at first, but it was so much fun. I was scared in one way; but when I got up, I just did like the other ones. It was wonderful,” Boles said.

“It was fun. I was not scared. It was so big. I would do it again,” Whitefield said.

Resident Austin Wood said, “This is cool.”

Bell gave a shout out to the fire department for providing a safe environment for the balloon ride and for their assistance. City Councilman Brian Woodall came as a friend along with Mayor Mike Callis to assist getting the residents and other visitors in and out of the balloon basket.

“The folks at Front Porch Senior Living do a great job keeping their residents active and the hot air balloon ride was another great example of that,” Callis said. “A big thank you goes to our firefighters, Alderman Woodall and others for helping residents get in and out of the basket.”

“Being able to help during this event was absolutely amazing. Seeing everyone’s face lit up with smiles when they came down just made my week,” Woodall added.

Bell does not hesitate to keep the residents active and plans many adventures for them. They have been to Dollywood Theme Park, local restaurants, Valentine banquets, and they plan to take in all the activities at the Strawberry Festival. People recognize them when they are out from media postings, but they are always surprised that people know them.

“You’re not limited in ability to do things, even though you are in a wheelchair or older in age. I stress quality of life and live for the moment,” Bell said.

Bob Grimes with Ace High Ballooning said, “It was a wonderful experience. Angela and her staff were great. They did everything I needed. Residents seemed to love it. At the fire station, all the firemen were very helpful, and their help was unsolicited. They were able to help load and unload the residents.”

The activities are funded through the Resident Fun Fund. People can make donations to the fund to assist in the cost of the various activities. Those wishing to make donations may send a check to Front Porch Senior Living with a designation that it is for the Resident Fun Fund or make a donation through Venmo @Angela-Bell-328.

For more information, Bell can be contacted at (615) 559-8982. Front Porch Senior Living is located at 115 Sunset Place in Portland.

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