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Wish Stories

Scotty Rides in a Hot Air Balloon

Scotty, 93, has spent her life staring up at the sky. She was a meteorologist as a young adult in the 1940s—a true pioneer in her time as one of the only female meteorologists in the country.

“I went to the weather bureau and took a civil service test and ended up going to Kansas City,” she explained. “This was during wartime; if you passed a certain test, they would assign you an associate degree. I got mine in meteorology.”

“I worked for the weather bureau, took observations, and recorded the weather…I was one of four women meteorologists in the country,” Scotty said.

However, while Scotty spent so much time dedicated to her meteorology work, she was never able to spend time floating in the sky that she had dedicated her life to studying. Scotty’s wish was to spend time amongst the clouds she knew so much about; she wanted nothing more than to take a hot air balloon ride.

Two times over her lifetime, Scotty tried to take a balloon ride, but the weather prevented her from making this dream a reality. When we heard her story, Wish of a Lifetime was thrilled to help Scotty finally take that hot air balloon ride she had been dreaming of since she was a young girl. Before her wish, Scotty could hardly contain her excitement: “this will mean the world to me!”

Older adult Scotty smiles before her hot air balloon ride in Boulder Colorado
Scotty sits in the hot air baloon basket with nephew and friend before her wish comes true

Scotty’s life is a story of unselfishness with a pattern of putting the needs of others ahead of her own. She grew up on a homestead in Iowa, where she lived with her ailing grandparents, parents, aunt, and siblings all under one roof. Tragically, her brother had a brain tumor, and his wife was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. They both died within one year of each other, leaving behind six children, ages 10-20.

Scotty took the kids in and played a huge part in raising them, all of whom she is still close to. She was married to her husband for nearly 40 years and was his primary caregiver when he became ill and passed away 10 years ago.

Even while caring for so many people, Scotty made time to volunteer for 22 years in a hospital. She has also been very active in the American Meteorology Society throughout her life.

Scotty smiling up in the sky inside hot air balloon with Rocky Mountains Boulder, Colorado below her
Shadow of balloon floating above Boulder Colorado as Scotty's hot air balloon ride wish is fulfilled

Finally, the day of her wish was here! In July of 2016, Scotty took to the skies in a hot air balloon. Accompanied by her nephew Keith, Scotty soared over the beautiful foothills of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado.

The day she finally took flight had another layer of meaning to her, as it would have been her husband’s 93rd birthday.

After her memorable experience, Scotty declared, “It was wonderful…the sky is the place for me!”

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Wish recipient Scotty's friends holding signs and cheering her on before hot air balloon wish

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