Embracing Our Community

Embraceable Blue, Dr. Meyers, our pet cockatoos (Fiona and Pavi), and several of our staff have supported a variety of community events and fundraisers. Our support has included education, interviews, static display, night glow, and other activities. We have been honored to have been invited as guests of:

  • United Way “Taste the Sky” Youth Team Fundraiser (Los Alamos)
  • Mission Viejo Christian Academy and Piñon Elementary School “Santa Fe Aloft” (an extension of Albuquerque Aloft, the official launch of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta)
  • Care net of Albuquerque fundraiser
  • Day of the Tread Charity Event
  • Walk for Your Man Prostate Cancer Awareness Walk
  • Los Alamos Homecoming Parade

2011 Taste the Sky

“Santa Fe Aloft”

Care net Fundraiser

2011 KRSN Interview on Ballooning and the
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta

Embraceable Blue, Dr. Meyers, our pet cockatoos (Fiona and Pavi), and several of our staff also have participated in a number of balloon festivals, including the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta:


Dr. Meyers was an official sponsor of the 2011 and 2010 Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Several of our staff and their families flew with Dr. Meyers and Embraceable Blue as participants in the mass ascensions and competition. A number of our patients and families joined us at Balloon Fiesta Park during the events.

See our Embraceable Blue page for our hot air balloon slideshow including pictures from the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

Balloon Fiesta: Rookie pilot rising

Photo by: Jane Phillips/The New Mexican

Mission Viejo Christian Academy third-grader Mikayla Henderson, 8, could barely sit still as Santa Fe balloon pilot and orthodontist Daniel Meyers prepared to show off the balloon he hopes to fly in this year's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Meyers was certified by the FAA a little over a year ago and has been flying at least once a week when the weather permits. This will be his first year as a pilot in the fiesta.

Mikayla and the other children waited on the grass Friday morning as the crew took the balloon out of storage.

"I'm excited to see it because I've never seen one before," she said.

Meyers' crew circulated among the children with his two cockatoos — Pavi and Fiona — explaining that many of the members of the Quad A (Albuquerque Aerostat Ascension Association) take their pets along for the festivities after a day of flying.

"They're good with the balloon," he said.

As Meyers' crew spread out the blue balloon, which advertises Meyers' business, the children got more excited. They squealed with delight when the hot air begin making bubbles in the formerly flat balloon. As the balloon got bigger, the screams got louder.

"Fill it up," chanted a small group of third-graders.

After the balloon reached its full capacity, students jumped up and cheered.

Grace Honnell, 5, a kindergartner, said she's most fascinated with the fire. She said she's never been in a hot air balloon, but "I've watched one," she said. "It's exciting."

Meyers said he got an itch to do a new sport a few years ago.

"I think there's something about ballooning that really appeals to everybody in one way or another," he said. "New Mexico is really the best place in the world to do ballooning."

That was apparent Friday morning — both the children and the adults were fascinated with the balloon. Even Mission Viejo Principal Bernadette Shanaberger hopped in the basket for a photo opportunity.

Meyers noted he never feels nervous in the balloon and that each flight is different, depending on the day's conditions.

"That's part of the fun," he said. "No two days are exactly the same."

Meyers called the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta a "world class event."

"It's really a good thing," he said, "something the whole state has to be proud of."

Contact Ana Maria Trujillo at 986-3084 or atrujillo@sfnewmexican.com.




Dr. Meyers, Fiona the umbrella cockatoo, Paviano the citron-Major Mitchell hybrid cockatoo, and the Embraceable Blue crew participated in Amarillo’s Pirates of the Canyon 2010 hot air balloon event. Although the balloons could not fly out of Palo Duro canyon (the second largest canyon in the US) because of wind conditions, Dr. Meyers, his parrots, and his crew participated in the Pirates of the Canyon trick or treating event where Fiona brought smiles to the children.

Balloonists grounded

By Yann Ranaivo

Between a child’s smile and floating over lush landscapes, Chris Jones would be unable to choose.

Jones, rally coordinator for the annual Pirates in the Canyon hot air balloon rally, was at John S. Stiff Memorial Park Saturday as several children decked in costumes and. makeup spent the afternoon greeting pilots and crew members of 24 hot air balloons.

The Pirates of the Canyon trick-or-treating event was slated to involve flying, but Saturday's wind conditions would have made it difficult for the pilots to navigate the air with ease.

Jones, however, expressed no great disappointment over not being able to fly.

"We are doing this for the kids, the smiles," he said. "It's unfortunate we can't fly, but (seeing the children) is a great alternative."

During previous trick-or-treating events, children would usually come out, get candy, talk to pilots and delight in later seeing the balloons sail the skies.

This weekend, the children got their candy and spent time in the baskets where they learned about some of the balloons' mechanics.

Hollie Clement, who came out to park with her two daughters, sister and mother, got to see her children, Jaclyn and Jaide, get in one basket. The pilot let the little girls light the burner.

Clement, a first-timer at the annual balloon event, expressed some surprise about the baskets.

"I was surprised about just how small the baskets are," she said.

Of the 24 balloons at the park, only four were from Amarillo. The pilots came from as far California and New Jersey.

Keith Sproul, a pilot from Brunswick, N.J., has always relished the opportunity to fly over imposing terrain.

"I love flying in canyons, and Palo Duro Canyon is a great place to fly," he said, referring to today's signature event scheduled at sunrise. "(The best thing about flying) is the flying over beautiful places and seeing the looks and expressions of people who are flying for the time."

Sproul always has one simple piece of advice for children.

"Be safe," he said.

In the past dozen years, Sproul's air adventures have taken him to Arizona's Meteor Crater, a 600-foot-deep gorge in upstate New York and near the Swiss Alps, among other places.

Sproul said Meteor Crater is interesting because pilots have to understand the area's wind patterns pretty well.

"The same thing is true at Palo Duro Canyon," he said. "You got to know the wind."

Mike Shrum, of Socorro, N.M., said children often ask him about how the balloons work. He said that question is often easily answered.

"That's when we light the burners and get the heat going," he said.

Shrum, part of Pirates of the Canyon for the second year, said he comes to the Texas Panhandle during this time of the year because few pilots ever get the chance to fly through Palo Duro Canyon.