Flat Stanley Travels by Balloon and on the Wings of an Angel

Mr. Hubert,

First of all I would like to introduce myself. I am Debra Hurley from Maiden Elementary in Maiden, NC .

Our story began on Dec.18, 2010 when my husband came in from a “walk about” on our land and had found a Flat Stanley. He had no idea what it was all about but wanted to share it with me. This F.S. had been attached to a balloon instead of going by mail. Since our 2nd graders had just mailed their letters it was very exciting to see this one. When I turned it over and read the back it said it was released by a second grader named Nathan and that he attended Whitesville Elem. in Whitesville, Kentucky.

I could not believe my eyes or my luck. How could it get here from 490 miles away? We had our own thoughts. It was a week before Christmas and we felt like it was a gift from our son TJ. We lost TJ in an accident on June 13, 1998 at 20 years of age. The holidays are really hard to get through.  We have gotten what we believe to be signs over the years that help us to go on. One is from butterflies and now from a paper boy cut out  called Flat Stanley. I asked my husband why he brought it to me instead of throwing it away. Was it because I was in 2nd grade too or because it had a yellow string? (TJ’s favorite color was yellow) He told me maybe some of that but mostly because we had released balloons once for TJ and had hoped someone would call and say they had found one, but that never happened. Tom said he just wanted this little boy named Nathan to know that his Flat Stanley had been found.

I immediately contacted Tennille Hinton by email. She was Nathan’s teacher at the time they released the Flat Stanley’s on April 22, 2010. She couldn’t believe it either.  We have been in contact ever since and have found so much joy. It helped us through the Christmas and the New Year and even now in 2011 it is touching our lives daily. Nathan had no idea that day that he would touch a family so much  when he let that balloon go.

I put together a scrapbook of pictures and letters from one of my classes and sent it to Nathan along with a t-shirt from our school. (The Maiden Elementary Eagles!) One child at my school asked how it could get over the mountains and we replied, on the wings of a angel.

Nathan is a wonderful little boy and we are thankful that we were the lucky family to take care of his Flat Stanley.

The two schools are going to stay in contact as pen-pals. I hope to stay in touch with Mrs. Hinton and Nathan. This has been an adventure that we will never forget.

Deb Hurley


“Happiness is a butterfly which when pursued is just beyond your grasp…

but if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”        Nathaniel Hawthorne

Debra  Hurley, T.A./Bus Driver

Maiden  Elementary  School

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