Maryland ‘Santa’s Helpers’ deliver markers, puzzles to preschool after finding Columbus girl’s request

WISH UPON A BALLOON: CHRISTMAS CHEER CONTINUES

A 3-year-old Columbus preschooler’s Christmas wish was answered in an unusual way from a place far away.

Landree Londeree, who attends the Carousel Learn and Play preschool in Greensburg, took part in an annual Christmas tradition for the preschool class — sending her Christmas wish with a red balloon skyward Dec. 20 just before holiday break and then heading home to Columbus to celebrate with her family.

But when her father, Corey Londeree, dropped her off Wednesday for class in Greensburg, the preschool had some news.

Landree had a package from Maryland containing an answer to her Christmas wish, along with the shredded balloon that had contained her original request.

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Unbeknowst to her family, Landree had asked for pencils, markers and puzzles for her class, her father said. The package, sent anonymously, contained 100 pencils and packages of markers with a note to the preschooler explaining how her balloon and note had been found.

“We found your note this morning on our walk in Woolford, Maryland,” the response said. “We have been Santa’s helpers for 60 years! We love Christmas! Enjoy these markers and pencils at your school.”

The family doesn’t know the name of the people who responded — or their address. Woolford is a small, unincorporated community in Dorchester County on Maryland’s eastern shore.

The balloon would have traveled an estimated 674 miles from southeastern Indiana, about 10 to 11 hours away by car. There was no indication in the note what day the balloon was found in Maryland.

“It’s quite amazing to receive a package like that,” said Corey Londeree, who is special education coordinator for Decatur County Community Schools. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it.”

His daughter just grinned when she received the package which answered her wish.

“She’s our third child and tends to be very particular about what she wants. It doesn’t surprise me that she wanted new pencils and markers,” Corey Londeree said.

For a regular balloon — not a heavier-duty weather balloon — to travel that far is somewhat unfathomable, WISH-TV meterologist Brad Maushart said.

However, after checking the weather conditions on Dec. 20, Maushart said it is possible that the balloon could have been carried in the upper atmosphere — below where toy balloons burst — by the west-to-northwest wind that was traveling across southeast Indiana that day.

“It’s plausible by ‘Mythbuster’ standards,” he said.

The balloon would have expanded in the cold and eventually popped, but because it could have been traveling at a height where 150 mph winds were carrying it east, it would have made the trip to Maryland in just over three hours. It’s possible for a toy balloon to survive those conditions,” Maushart said.

Before this, the longest distance one of the preschoolers’ balloons had flown was eastern Ohio, Corey Londeree said.

The Londeree family plans to frame the shredded balloon, Landree’s wish list and the card that was returned to have it as a keepsake as Landree grows up, her father said.

As far as future wishes, Corey Londeree said he isn’t sure if Landree will count on red balloons being the go-to method of getting a response to a Christmas wish list in the future.

“Her expectations about that are pretty high right now,” he said.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at jmcclure@therepublic.com or (812) 379-5631.