DreamShip Hot Air Balloon Begins National Tour
With Lady Liberty and One World Trade Center as a symbolic backdrop of the freedoms America’s military proudly defend, DreamShip—a fully operational hot air balloon—began its year-long journey to raise awareness of Folds of Honor, a Rite Aid Foundation national strategic partner dedicated to providing educational scholarships to children of fallen or disabled service members. With a design as unique as its mission, the DreamShip showcases artwork created by Folds of Honor scholarship recipients symbolizing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The DreamShip was officially unveiled during a ceremony September 29 at Liberty Landing Marina inside Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. New Jersey Lieutenant Governor and proud military mother Kim Guadagno joined Ken Martindale, Rite Aid CEO of stores, president of Rite Aid Corporation and president of The Rite Aid Foundation, and Folds of Honor Founder Major Dan Rooney at the event, which was also attended by Rite Aid supplier partners, area Rite Aid associates and several Folds of Honor scholarship recipients whose dreams are featured on the DreamShip.
“Today is a very special day for Folds of Honor, but it’s only the beginning,” said Martindale. “From here on out, with every launch, the DreamShip will lift up the dreams of children helped by Folds of Honor, both physically and metaphorically, and The Rite Aid Foundation could not envision a better way to show our support of Folds of Honor, our veterans and their children.”
Standing eight stories tall, the DreamShip comprises more than 400 fabric panels, 130 of which uniquely feature drawings of the dreams of children helped by Folds of Honor. With an internal volume of 105,000 cubic feet, it would take approximately 405,000 standard-sized basketballs to completely fill the fully inflated balloon. The DreamShip is operated by a licensed balloon pilot and able to fly just like any other hot air balloon.
“I am honored to be here today with families of service members who have sacrificed so much for our country,” said Lt. Governor Guadagno. “Through Folds of Honor, Major Rooney has made a commitment to support the children and families of the fallen and disabled heroes long past their darkest hours. Without the involvement of The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program, the DreamShip would not be able to serve as an important visual reminder, one which people often forget, that sacrifices are also made by the families when their loved ones go to war.”
The launch event also included special exhibits, including a virtual reality hot air balloon ride and a virtual reality art station, where kids used Tilt Brush technology to draw their dreams. Event goers were also able to watch videos showcasing children helped by Folds of Honor, purchase Folds of Honor merchandise and learn how they can support the organization.
“We cannot think of a better way to showcase the stories and dreams of our scholarship recipients than to lift them up with the DreamShip for the world to see,” said Rooney. “Folds of Honor is so fortunate to partner with The Rite Aid Foundation in our mission to educate the legacy of our fallen and disabled service members. We look forward to following the DreamShip on its journey across the country and sharing the stories of our deserving scholarship recipients.”
With support from official DreamShip sponsors including The Rite Aid Foundation’s KidCents program; Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc., maker of Tylenol®; Nestlé Waters, maker of Nestlé Pure Life; and Unilever, maker of SUAVE®; the DreamShip will travel the country, serving as a constant symbol of the commitment made by Folds of Honor, its partners and donors, to honor the nation’s fallen and disabled service members and their families.
After today’s event, the DreamShip begins a year-long tour of the United States. To learn more about the DreamShip, including upcoming appearances and the children being helped by DreamShip, visit theDreamShip.org.
Support Folds of Honor
In addition to supporting Folds of Honor as the DreamShip travels the country, people can also support Folds of Honor by texting #dreamship to 364-13 (FOH-13) or visiting theDreamShip.org. Additionally, people can join Rite Aid’s free loyalty program, wellness+ with Plenti, and sign up to participate in The Rite Aid Foundation’s round-up program, KidCents. Through KidCents, members of wellness+ with Plenti can round up their in-store or online purchases to the nearest dollar and give their change to Folds of Honor.