9/12/2012 11:09:00 AM Birthday present takes former resident in the air
Michael Lesmeister fires up his hot air balloon after it landed at Root River Country Club Sunday evening.
By David Phillips
Jerilyn Grooters of Washington state, a former resident of the Wykoff/Greeenleafton area, got a big birthday present this year in the form of a rainbow colored hot air balloon ride.
The trip over Spring Valley and through the countryside to Root River Country Club took place Sunday evening. It was about six months after her birthday, partially due to weather conditions and the hot summer, but she thoroughly enjoyed it.
She invited her husband, Duane Grooters, along with her daughters Maren Gilsrud of Wykoff and Marlayne Gehrking of Rochester. The "flight-meister" was Michael Lesmeister of Rochester, who owns Lesmeister Balloon Co.
The ride started on the north side of Spring Valley so LaVern Grooters, 97, who is in Spring Valley Assisted Living, could watch the takeoff. The landing was in a clearing near the clubhouse at Root River Country Club.
Several family members followed the flight by car as did several area residents who wanted to view the unusual sight in the sky. The landing also brought several people out from the restaurant at the country club to view the hot air balloon up close.