When a pair of RE/MAX Broker/Owners in Ohio heard that a local 90-year-old nursing home resident had always dreamt of riding in a hot air balloon, they came up with a plan to make it happen.


Meru and Linda Maharaj, who own RE/MAX Oasis Dream Homes just outside Akron, arranged for a balloon pilot to not only take the woman into the sky, but also give rides to her nursing home neighbors as well.


The result was an unforgettable experience for the senior citizens of The Village of St. Edwards. Near sunset on a warm August evening, they took turns climbing aboard the basket and enjoying scenic tethered rides in a RE/MAX hot air balloon.



“The woman who inspired the event was the first one to go up that day. It was such a joyous and emotional experience for her – and for everyone,” Meru reflects. “It was rewarding to see the smiles on the seniors who participated, as well as on the many family members who joined.”


He adds, “As a local business, it's our priority to give back however we can."





Meru and Linda's efforts underscore an important mission shared throughout the RE/MAX network: real estate professionals making a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work. And it often involves creative uses of the RE/MAX balloon.


Standing at seven stories tall and floating high in the sky, a hot air balloon is one of the most enchanting wonders. And the RE/MAX hot air balloon fleet is the largest in the world. The iconic red, white, and blue hot air balloon has long been the symbol of RE/MAX – and it’s recognized around the globe. (RE/MAX has a presence in more than 110 countries and territories.)


Colleen Collier with RE/MAX Plus in Buffalo, New York, has also leveraged the balloon. When she first joined the brand as an agent 15 years ago, she connected with a local balloon pilot to learn more about community opportunities.


Since then, she’s found different ways for the balloon to make an appearance – and change lives. During the 2023 RE/MAX Month of Miracles, Collier chartered tethered balloon rides during a local festival to raise money for the nearby Children’s Miracle Network Hospital affiliate.


She also brought the balloon to a local elementary school – the same one she attended in her youth – for unforgettable science lessons.


“We gathered different classes in the gymnasium throughout the day and started the events with a slideshow presentation, talking about the science behind the balloon, how it works with the weather, how to measure wind, what the role of the pilot is, and more. And then we surprised the kids by bringing in an actual RE/MAX balloon, which we inflated with an electric fan,” Collier shares. “The teachers loved it just as much as the students.”


She adds, “The kids were in awe seeing the balloon in person – and you don’t realize how big it truly is until seeing it up close. A hot air balloon holds about 90,000 cubic feet of air. For reference, a basketball has only one cubic foot of air.”





The RE/MAX hot air balloon is now a mainstay in Collier’s charitable marketing efforts, and she’s seeking out more ways it can take flight throughout her Buffalo community.


“Giving back is the heart of my job as a real estate agent, and I’m thrilled that the RE/MAX balloon can bring happiness to others,” Collier says.