Unique Piece of St. John History Discovered in Central Pennsylvania

Denise Yingling was on a hike deep in the state game lands near Howard, Pennsylvania, when she discovered a laminated tag covered in dirt at her feet.

Upon seeing that the label read “You have found a balloon from Mars…” with a phone number, she pieced together that it must have belonged to St. John Specialty Care Center and mailed it over to our facility –approximately 175 miles away.

Brenda Hunter, a customer service representative at St. John Specialty Care Center, received the note from Yingling and quickly recalled that the tag was a piece of history from St. John’s Centennial Celebration held on July 12, 2003.

A total of 345 balloons were released by community members that day, and in the weeks that followed the celebration, a few of the people who found the balloon tags called in to report how far the balloon had traveled.

One tag even reached as far as Delran, New Jersey, 337 miles away.

Though it doesn’t seem Yingling’s tag traveled quite as far, the discovery certainly serves as a great reminder of the nearly 117 years of service St. John has brought to our community.

St. John Specialty Care Center was initially founded in 1903 to provide care for orphaned or neglected children as well as the needy elderly of the area. In 1952, they began caring for seniors only.

In 1986, St. John joined Passavant Retirement Community under the umbrella of Lutheran Affiliated Services – now known as Lutheran SeniorLife.

Since then, St. John Community has expanded to include RoseCrest Assisted Living with Memory Support and Overbrook Pointe residential apartments.

St. John’s Centennial Celebration balloon release, 2003.

St. John Specialty Care Center, 1903.