Home Local News Candidates and community come together as hot air balloon rides draw hundreds

Candidates and community come together as hot air balloon rides draw hundreds

Photos by Betty Gallo McIntyre

ROCKINGHAM — The weather was perfect for evening hot air balloon rides at the Richmond County Airport Saturday, April 30.

Hundreds from all age groups showed up to enjoy the adventure. Faces lit up on all who boarded with anticipation of going up, some for the first time. When the balloon reached maximum height, one could see for miles. 

The event was free to the public which included tethered rides.

Jason Gainey organized the outdoor event as an outreach for the community to be able to come together and enjoy, as well as meeting and greeting some of the candidates running for office. 

“It’s an outside venue where residents can meet Christian candidates who have a heart for the community,” Gainey said about the event.

Gainey is one of 14 candidates running for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners. He has a background of pastoring for 20 years as well as managing the airport for three years. He is now the owner and president of Sandhill’s Best Care which opened in 2018. 

Numerous other candidates were also invited to attend the event, including Bess Schuler, who is running for Richmond County Board of Education. 

Schuler has more than 30 years of experience working with Richmond County Schools and also has numerous family members who work with the school system as well. 

“I want to be an advocate for all teachers and all school employees because I don’t feel they have an adequate voice in matters that affect them,” Schuler said. “I am not a ‘yes man,’, so I don’t mind asking questions.

“I worked my last 11 years as beginning teacher coordinator supporting teachers during the first five years of their employment,” she continued. “I feel like I’m familiar with the needs of teachers which will help our partnership in the community which will further support our teachers. I know school and how to interact with people which in turn builds partnerships and positive relationships with all community stakeholders.” 


Schuler offered her phone number — 910-410-0655 — for anyone who may have questions for her. other candidates were available to speak to anyone who desired. 

Chris Turner, owner of Twisted Treats was set up with a free treat for all the children, and Robbie Taylor III served as the DJ for the night.

Richard Garvie, owner of Balloon Glow Tour, has been managing hot air balloon events for six years.

“We average 40 events per year around the country,” Garvie said. “There are plans to set up an event again at the Richmond County Airport in mid-September which will offer tethering and glow at night as well as full rides in the morning; weather permitting. Admission details will be posted at a later date.” 

For more information on the North Carolina Festival of Ballooning, see the Facebook page. 

“I love seeing the people in the community come out and spending time together and having fun,” Moss said of the event. “I’d love to see more of this in our county.” 

(Editor’s Note: Other candidates for the Richmond County Board of Commissioners are: incumbents Justin Dawkins and Rick Watkins, and challengers Thomas Davenport, Danny Pearson, Karen Everett and Robin Roberts on the Republican ticket; incumbents Tavares Bostic and Don Bryant and challengers Michael Legrand, Linda Ross, Abbie Covington, Kevin Clark and Tyrannia Ellerbe.

Other candidates for the Richmond County Board of Education: incumbents Joe Richardson, Bobbie Sue Ormsby and Daryl Mason, and challengers Cory Satterfield, Scotty Baldwin, Eddie Rainwater and Jeremy McKenzie.

Moss is also running for reelection against Rep. Jamie Boles, R-Moore.

Early voting is currently available at the Richmond County Cooperative Extension Office. The primary is scheduled for May 17. School Board members will be elected that day; candidates for county commissioner will be narrowed down to four from each party to face off in the November election.)


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