CAMP HILL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With Lady Liberty and One World Trade Center as a symbolic backdrop of the freedoms America’s military proudly defend, today, DreamShip, a fully operational hot air balloon will take its inaugural flight before embarking on a year-long journey to raise awareness of Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization based in Owasso, Oklahoma, dedicated to providing educational scholarships to children of fallen or disabled service members. With a design as unique as its mission, the DreamShip, will showcase artwork created by Folds of Honor scholarship recipients symbolizing their hopes and dreams for the future.
The DreamShip will be officially unveiled during a ceremony today at 10 a.m. at Liberty Landing Marina inside Liberty State Park, located in Jersey City, New Jersey. New Jersey Lieutenant Governor and proud military mother Kim Guadagno will join Rite Aid CEO of stores, President of Rite Aid Corporation and President of The Rite Aid Foundation Ken Martindale and Folds of Honor Founder Major Dan Rooney at the celebration, as well as several Folds of Honor scholarship recipients, whose dreams are featured on the DreamShip, and area Rite Aid associates.
“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 is comprised of 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. Fully operational, the DreamShip will be operated by a licensed balloon pilot and is 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 will also include special exhibits including a virtual reality hot air balloon ride and a virtual reality art station, where kids can use Tilt Brush technology to draw their dreams. Event goers will also be 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.”
Follow the DreamShip
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.
Immediately after today’s launch, the DreamShip will begin its year-long tour of the United States. To learn more about the DreamShip, including upcoming appearances and the children being helped by DreamShip, visit www.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 www.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. For more information, visit www.kidcents.com.
Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE: RAD) is one of the nation's leading drugstore chains with nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2016 annual revenues of $30.7 billion. Information about Rite Aid, including corporate background and press releases, is available through the company's website at www.riteaid.com.
Folds of Honor is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to families of military men and women who have fallen or been disabled while on active duty in the United States armed forces. Our educational scholarships support private education tuition and tutoring for children in grades K-12, as well as higher education tuition assistance for spouses and dependents. Founded in 2007 by Major Dan Rooney, an F-16 fighter pilot in the Oklahoma Air National Guard who served three tours of duty in Iraq, Folds of Honor is proud to have awarded more than 10,000 scholarships in all 50 states, as well as Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, including more than 2,500 in 2015 alone. For more information or to donate in support of a Folds of Honor scholarship, visit www.foldsofhonor.org.