Balloons with special message travel from Tacoma to Clarkston

CLARKSTON, WA - A Clarkston woman said she was gardening over the weekend when a message fell out of the sky.

Creta Rutt likes to garden in the evening when it's cool. She was picking tomatoes late Sunday to make a batch of her favorite corn salsa. It was at that time when something peculiar dropped out of the sky.

"I was out here in the garden and the balloons just dropped right in front of me," said Rutt.

Attached to three fairly deflated balloons was a card.

"I looked down and I could see that it had a message on it," said Rutt.

The card read that the balloons were released Sunday morning for the start of Sunday School at the Evangelical Reformed Church.

Charity Kirkman, 14, requested that whoever received the card, sends it back for a surprise. All the way to the other side of the state.

"And sure enough I looked at it and it's from Tacoma, Washington," said Rutt.

Rutt initially thought there was no way that balloons could travel that far.

"How would these balloons make it that far?," said Rutt. "I was looking around wondering if someone was pranking me. I had goosebumps because it was weird that that journey had just happened."

Pastor Rich Hamlin of the Evangelical Reformed Church told us this is a tradition they've been doing for 16 years now. He said he grew up in Colfax, Washington where they used to do the same activity at his church when he was a boy.

"I have fond memories of this tradition so when I became a Pastor here in 1997 it was something that we started to do," said Hamlin.

He said it's something the kids in his church look forward to every year.

"Try and figure out which way they're going to go this year, which way the winds are going to take them," said Hamlin. "They've gone south down to Oregon, they've gone east to Eastern Washington, they've gone North."

Hamlin said of the 40 or so balloons they release every year, they usually get about four or five back. He said one year, a hiker on Mount Rainier found the balloons. Now, Rutt said her Youth Pastor is inspired to do the same.

"He says I will meet you at the church, that's an amazing thing," said Rutt. "He says he wants to do it at our church."

From Charity Kirkman in Tacoma all the way to Creta Rutt in Clarkston.

"It was on a journey and it found me," said Rutt.

Hamlin said once the postcards are sent back, the kids send back a letter with a gift certificate.