Balloon returns after trip to Vermont
A Pat-Med graduation balloon (inset) drifted 338 miles to northern Vermont, where it was found by Joe Askin (pictured), who sent it back to the school district.

Courtesy photo-

Balloon returns after trip to Vermont



If you took the shorter route, it would take around six and a half hours to arrive in West Topsham, Vt. No one knows how long it took a certain balloon.

Joe Askin, 7, came upon a bright-red balloon donning the Patchogue-Medford High School Raiders inscription 338 miles away from the school while on vacation. In a letter sent to the district, he said he discovered the balloon and wanted to return it. Askin told the district he “owns” a detective agency called Askin Detective Agency and, according to the letter, this was his second case file of 2018. 

“We really enjoyed receiving your letter and the balloon, and appreciate you taking the time to send it to us,” wrote high school principal Randy Rusielewicz in a response letter to Askin. “This is definitely something you don’t see or hear of every day.”

Rusielewicz sent Askin a Pat-Med T-shirt, socks and a bandana to remember the journey and show off to his friends.

Earth Day facts about balloons

• Balloons are often cited as a danger to wildlife, as they can become consumed by animals or ribbons can wrap around them. 

• When an animal swallows a balloon, it can block its intestinal tract, leading to starvation. 

• Balloons that fall in the ocean often make their way to the North Atlantic Garbage Patch.

• Balloons can take years to break down, even if labled as biodegradable.

• New York State has unsuccessfully tried for years to prohibit the release of balloons outside of scientific experiments, but the bill has not yet been passed.

• Balloons have the potential to travel thousands of miles.

• Mylar/foil balloons can cause dangerous power outages and spark fires. 

Facts are courtesy of Balloons Blow and the Environmental Nature Center.