What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Dreams come true for vets at Freedom Balloon Festival

Posted May 22, 2015

— A lucky group of Wounded Warrior veterans had their dreams come true Friday night at the WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival.

The young Marines, from the wounded warrior battalion at Camp Lejeune, had the chance to take off in a hot air balloon.

"It was truly an honor," said Tim Nelams, a Wounded Warrior veteran.

Julia Ziegler said she had always hoped her son, Jared, could experience a hot air balloon ride.

"Hot air balloons are magical," she said. "And for one day, especially for our wounded warriors and their families, it's taken their burdens and their problems have just gone away."

Nelams was the first to take a ride in a special basket built for people with psychical disabilities.

"It was different," he said. "Very smooth, a lot smoother than I thought. I have been on a few aircrafts, whether it was in the U.S or on deployment. It was an awesome feeling."

The basket, built in London, will now be taken around on an educational tour.


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