Spotlight on People & Places

Spot Light: United Methodist Cross / Mary Johnson


United Methodist Church – Balloon Cross

It is always nice when I get repeat business, there is a very special lady named Mary Johnson, no relation to me. Mary is a senior like me and volunteers her time and energy to the United Methodist Church.

Over the years I have gotten to know Mary quite well, she is a dedicated person. Keeping young by taking care of her mother who is 90 something and volunteering.

One of the unique things about Mary is she doesn’t have a computer so all correspondence (emails) goes through friends of hers.

Her group, Metropolitan District Annual Celebration (MDAC), part of the United Methodist Church wanted a stained glass looking cross made out of balloons.

Her friend Curtis emailed a photo of a stained glass cross, if you know anything about stained glass…it uses different shaped pieces of glass to form a great looking piece of art.

Well balloons are round, so the dedicated design crew had to put on their thinking caps to create a visually appealing look for the cross.

The look or pattern we chose is a “Diamond Pattern” it looks similar to a cross in some ways. We used this pattern for the vertical piece of the cross.

To be honest with you, our cross didn’t look anything like the stained glass cross picture Curtis sent me . Ours did look great and was well received by the MDAC members. Lots of photos were taken and people were amazed that our cross was made only with balloons.

Mary called me and told me just how wonderful it was and that the all of the people were amazed at how the colors on our cross matched the colors of of their stained glass cross. Thanks Mary for the instant feed back.








Spotlight: Mitzvah Mania

Mitzvah Mania is a once a year event for Jewish families whose son’s or daughter’s are going to have a Mitzvah in the near future.

It is a fun filled event, where vendors who are experts in their field, show case their profession. One stop shopping if you will.

You might need a venue, caterer, florist, DJ, balloon decor, face painter, a baker, photographer, invitations, air brushed T-shirts, photo booth, novelties, party planner or videographers. All this and so much more, all in one place.

I have done this event since the very beginning and have been so fortunate to meet a lot of great people. I look forward to this event every year to see old friends and meet new ones.

There are plenty of reasons to attend, but I think the most important one is all the vendors who participate are experienced in providing services for Bar & Bat Mitzvah’s.

This event is  free of charge  to you the consumer.

Come to our booth and receive a  10 per cent   coupon off your event. I think you will get quite a surprise what we can do with a fun theme with balloons.

All the info:

When: March 15, 2015

Times: 1:00 to 4:00

Where: Wings Over the Rockies

Address: 7711 E. Academy Boulevard, Denver, Co 80230

ps. You don’t have to be Jewish to attend this event, if you are planning an event you are more then welcome.


Spotlight on Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon


Balloon arch for Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon / North Denver

I love music especially old school Rock ‘n’ Roll, but others might like hard rock, contemporary or soft rock, new wave, punk, rockabilly, funk or god knows what other form of rock ‘n’ roll music there is. 

Rock ‘n’ Roll music was a huge part of the special event that Balloons by Absolute Value was a part of on October 19th. If you haven’t guessed already it was the 5th Annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

Janus Funds was the title sponsor for this years Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon which celebrated its fifth anniversary in Denver.  Janus sponsorship means a lot to the City of Denver and the State of Colorado. Way to go Janus.

This year over 12,000 runners ran on five different race distances: Marathon, Half Marathon, Half Marathon Relay, 10k and 5k races.  There were live bands and thousands of spectators lining the course cheering them on. High Fives to all the racers.

Janus Funds was heavily involved in all phases of this years event.  Balloons by Absolute Value was involved in the Janus Motivational Mile in North Denver. 

A one mile stretch from 29th and Lowell to approximately Zuni and Speer Blvd.  Balloons by Absolute Value placed three 60 foot arches over the street, one at the beginning, the end and one in the middle.

What made the motivational mile so special was signs along the route with words of encouragement and funny sayings………Reminded me of the Burma Shave signs of old, only lots of them. Do you remember the Burma Shave signs?

At the end of The Janus Motivational Mile was the Janus Aid Station hosted and staffed by Janus employees and family members. Racers were greeted and cheered as well as handed hydration and nutritional items to keep them going.

True dedications by all of them…….. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Janus Funds and one of their special employees, Erica Luker…… it was great working with you. Let’s do it again next year.


Spot Light: Race for the Cure

RIBBON 2014 (2) FFF

Race for the Cure Survivor Ceremony

Once again, Balloons by Absolute Value did all the balloons for Denver’s Race for the Cure. This is one event each year I wish I never have to do again. That would mean they have found the cure for breast cancer.

Each year they are getting closer to finding that cure, but no luck so far. There does happen to be a silver lining in all of this.

They are finding better treatments and it is no longer something that women should hide or be ashamed of. Early detection is the key.

Self examinations are now common place, mammograms are better and faster, treatments are better and more diverse. Survival rates are ever increasing.

Those are all great things, but still we have no absolute cure. Maybe this year will be the year.

I have many friends, my angels as I call them have told me one of the things that keeps them going each year is to stand on the grand stand at the Survivor Ceremony.

Balloons by Absolute Value has been privileged to be doing the balloons for 21 years for the race. The crew of Balloons by Absolute Value are busy decorating this event starting at midnight each year.

Lots of years ago I designed the Iconic Pink Balloon Ribbon that greets the Survivors each year. I want to thank Gary Shapiro of KUSA 9 News for branding the pink balloon ribbon as Iconic.

FYI, The Iconic Pink Balloon Ribbon is the single most photographed item at Denver’s Race for the Cure.




Spot Light on the Gabby Krause Foundation


Frog Centerpieces for Gabby Krause Foundation

I have a lot to catch up for you……we have been really busy and the rest of the month of October looks that way too.

Today’s blog is about one of my favorite charities… gosh I have quite a few of them. But seriously this is an awesome charity started by my friend Tammy Krause.

She started the Gabby Krause Foundation 10 years ago. It all started with the passing of her daughter Gabby. I never got to meet Gabby, but I am sure I would have fallen in love with her.

I have a soft spot for kids any way, but Gabby was different in so many ways……. Now how can I say that without ever meeting her.

She had a smile that could like up a room and eyes that make you melt. But there was so much more. Things that I admire in people; determination, spunk, drive and getting back on your feet when you’re beaten down. Gabby had that and more. In short she had spirit and the will to fight and live.

Now Gabby is gone physically but not in the minds of so many. See Tammy learned from her daughter, determination, spirit and what makes living………. living.

The Gabby Krause Foundation gives “Bags of Joy” to little boys and girls who go into the hospital to fight Cancer. These bags contain the “Good Stuff” that enables them to endure the pain and suffering they will have in fighting Cancer.

Tammy has made it her mission with the help of so many of her friends to do this worth whiled task. It really is a labor of love. The foundation has given out over 3,000 bags, free of charge, no real questions asked.

Each year, Balloons by Absolute Value has had the honor of decorating the Gabby Krause Foundation fund raiser. This is where the money comes from to buy those “Bags of Joy”

Now I would be remiss on not mentioning my friend Bridget Zerr who tells me what she wants for the decor for the gala.

Each year we brain storm and I some how come up with some thing that is unique and I have never done before. Bridget does challenge me and I like that, besides I really like working with her. Another awesome lady.

Now if you want to learn more about the Gabby Krause Foundation…….just google it and then if you have some extra change laying around, give it to this worthy cause.

The Frog Centerpieces where used for table tops and floor bouquets as well. Hope you enjoy them




Spotlight on Bonfils Drive for Life 2014


Top blood donors are pictured above.

It is once again football season and the Bonfils Blood Centers, “Drive for Life” blood drive. An event we think is so important to our community and we love to be involved with all the fine people associated with Bonfils.

The Denver Broncos Football Club will again partner with Bonfils to collect blood. On October 07th it will be the 17th annual “Drive for Life” community blood drive.

Sports Authority Field at Mile High will again be the place to donate blood, get autographs, meet the cheerleaders, current Bronco players and players from yesteryear….

Donating blood is relatively painless and doesn’t take long. This is truly a rewarding experience……bring your football, helmet, t-shirt or bowling pin and get them signed by your favorite player(s).

Don’t forget it is October 07th at Sports Authority Field at Mile High…… part of the state’s largest single-day blood drive that helps over 4,000 lives.

ps. Current and Alumni from the Broncos will be there, make sure you get all the autographs you can and make sure you get Billy Thompson’s he is the best ……… Charlie Johnson


Warren Village and Melody Kollath


60 ft balloon arch spanning Gilpin Street at 14th Avenue

One of the perks of my business, is to do balloon decor for organizations that a lot of people in Denver have never heard of.

That happen last Saturday, when we provided two sixty foot red balloon arches for Warren Village’s 40th anniversary celebration.

Now I knew a little about Warren Village, it is part of the Capitol Hill neighborhood on Gilpin Street. It was the brain child of Dr. Myron Wadell who saw a need to help low income single parent families achieve personal and economic self-sufficiency and to sustain there success.

Dr. Waddell and others convinced the Warren United Methodist Church the need was real…. So the church over a period of time, bought parcels of land, razed the buildings and then built an urban village.

Warren Village isn’t just a place for housing low income single parents of Denver. It’s a place for people to change their lives and provide a real future for their children and themselves.

It does provide affordable housing but it offers so much more. Learning centers and licensed education for infants, toddlers and preschool children. The also have after school programs for school age children.

Warren Village staff and volunteers help residents set goals and plan for their future by providing support and guidance in the areas of career counseling, education, financial planning and much more. You will find out that Warren Village is not a typical charity……. living at Warren Village is not a handout, it’s a hand up.

Now behind each organization there is a special person who I deal with…..Warren Village was no different. The special lady at Warren Village is Melody Kollath.

Melody isn’t a young pup, she is a Senior like me. She has a great sense of humor and her dedication to Warren Village is very real. Melody has earned the respect of every one at Warren Village.

She wanted this 40th Anniversary Block Party to be very special. Her and I planned this event 6 or 7 months ago. Will tell ya a secret out of school, Melody really wanted the arches and the people at Warren Village were not going to disappoint this special lady by saying “NO”. They showed the love this special lady deserves.

Melody earned my respect on the phone months ago and when I met her last Saturday for the first time….my respect deepened. Hats off to you Melody.


Spotlight: Tonya Gray and Mystery Guest

 Mystery Guest Picture at end of this Story

Forrest Gump said “Mama always said, life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get”, but I am not sure who said this first, “Life is full of surprises”.

That is what happened to me the other day, when I got a surprise call from someone from my past…. A young lady name Tonya Gray who I hadn’t heard from in years, but I had followed her career since she left Southwest Airlines. She was that nice to work with.

Tonya was working for Southwest Airlines when I first met her. Southwest was not a major player in Denver’s airlines traffic at the time. But they planned on coming to Denver in a big way, adding six to ten new cites with flights to and from Denver in the coming year.

Balloons by Absolute Value was tasked to create a theme for each new city Southwest Airlines was to add to Denver. We created some amazing themes for all of the cities. Whimsical, fun and colorful for sure. Our themes were well received by Tonya, Southwest Airlines and their passengers

There is one event that will always stick in my mine forever. Balloons by Absolute Value had worked with sports, movie, and music celebrities in the past. Politicians local, state and national ones too. But this celebrity was so cool, I mean very cool, Antarctica cool.

A Whose Who of Denver were all in attendance at DIA, (Denver International Airport). All forms of media were there, all the TV stations, both of Denver’s major newspapers and politicians were there too. All were waiting for the celebrity to come through the gate door.

Our amazing balloon decor, a red carpet from the gate to the center of the concourse, a rope line keeping spectators from the celebrity or celebrities was in place. No one knew who this celebrity was going to be, but they knew he or she was going to be important or famous.

When the gate door opened, the flash of cameras, lights from the TV cameras and a large applause came from the spectators……big smiles too.

It was none other then Pete the Penguin waddling down the red carpet…..followed by Penny the Penguin, special guests from SeaWorld and Southwest’s newest non-stop destination, San Diego. They soaked up all the attention.

They were naturals……waddling a few feet, stopping, posing for pictures and extending a flipper for a hand shake or a high five from the crowd.

To say this event was a success is greatly understated. It was the talk of the town for a very long time. A huge hit for sure. I was able to high five Pete the Penguin, truly a unique moment for me. Can you say, you high fived a penguin?

It is truly a moment that plays in my mind often, two very cute penguins creating such a stir of emotions by so many. Thanks Tonya for the flashback in time.



Pete & Penny Penguin

Red Carpet at DIA




Left to Right

Linda from SeaWorld  

Pete the Penguin

Tonya Gray, Southwest Airlines


ps. Looking forward to working with Tonya this month for Arizona State at the Millennium Harvest House



Spotlight: Anniversary and Dunning Bat Mitzvah


Dunning Bat Mitzvah / Lone Tree Golf Country Club 

When I begin writing my blog, I try to find something that will interest you the reader and not repeat myself.

But once a year I do repeat myself, kind of, that is when the anniversary of my company rolls around. I want to thank and acknowledge the greatest customers in the world. Mine !!!

August first is my companies anniversary. When that date comes around each year I wonder where and the heck the time went. Now that I am an old guy, time just seems to go bye so much quicker. Those over 50 know what I mean.

Balloons by Absolute Value stays in business for many reasons. The main reason is you, the customer ! Without you, we would have been out of business long ago. I want to thank you for being so loyal to my company.

Most large companies spent mega bucks to attract new customers to their business. Small business people like myself can’t do that. We depend on you the customer to refer us to your friends and use us again.

Repeat customers are the key to Balloons by Absolute Values success. If you’re a long time reader of my blog, you might have noticed how many times I write about repeat customers, The Denver Broncos, Race for the Cure, Rett’s Syndrome and other non-profit organizations.

They are very important, no doubt, but it is the individual customers that really make my business grow. For many reasons, one they know so many people and refer us to them during their event. The other is they usually challenge our creativity with unique themes.

The picture above is one of those challenges. Lisa a Mitzvah mom and her mother Bonnie wanted a musical theme for their daughter and grand daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

Balloons by Absolute Value did Lisa and Bonnie’s son and grandsons Bar Mitzvah a few years back. His theme was gaming, the kind with joy sticks and cartridges. Balloons by Absolute Value did such a great job they call on us again to give that magical touch for their current Bat Mitzvah.

Back to this years event, I bought the foam board guitars and vases a couple months prior. Had no immediate use for them but they were so cool I could not pass up this great look. They really are so unique.

Because these centerpieces are generally more expensive then most people want to purchase. I decided when I bought them that I would rent them out for special events. They also contain no balloons, both a first for Balloons by Absolute Value.

Lisa and Bonnie were so happy with the decor they want me to hang around for another four and half years……Yikes I will be 71 ……… think I am going to make that my goal to be able to do their next Mitzvah

Before I close this blog entry…. I want to let you know that you are all so very important to me and Balloons by Absolute Value. Thanks for being my customer and you are really important to our success.

ps. One of the very cool things about the guitar centerpieces is you can individualize the names of each table with your favorite band or singer.




Spotlight: Teresa Shear, Donor Dash & Rett’s

Today’s blog will not be on one subject, usually found here. Instead this is one of those tidbit, or hodge podge type blogs ……. a little of this and a little of that.

Broncos – Teresa Shear

One of my favorite people of all time is moving to Florida. Teresa Sheer……head every thing for the Broncos left the Bronco organization this month.

Teresa has been with the Broncos for 21 years…..when you look at Teresa you swear she is barely 21 years of age. Teresa you know where to send the quarter for the compliment……laughing now.

I have known Teresa for ever and I will miss her dearly. She is one detailed and organized lady, you should see the pre-game and half time, time tables. Precise and to the minute. Awesome job for sure, she handles it with such grace and style. A class lady for sure.

The reason for the move, Teresa’s daughter Tatum. She is a special person too…..she is an excellent tennis player.

She is going to a private school to become an even better tennis player….. Look out world for Tatum, I am sure we will see her on the pro circuit soon.

Besides someone I have done business with I consider Teresa my friend. Teresa you know I love ya and you will be missed.

Donor Dash 2014

The 2014 Donor Dash was a huge success, the race was held on July 20th at Wash Park….. Hope you were there.

Balloons by Absolute Value worked all night long to provide two 50 foot spiral arches……for the start and finish line. 8 six foot columns for the stage and 2,500 balloons for the memorial release.

This event gets bigger and bigger each year…..more participants brings more stories and of course more tears of joy and sadness.

I am the face of Balloons by Absolute Value, but the company is really my great employees…… My grand daughter Joanna (Bubba) and her boyfriend Corey (The Stiff) flew in from Detroit to help this year.

Joseph, Salena, Laura, Jenny Ann you are amazing. Thanks for all the hard work……. I have the best crew in all of Colorado and it shows.

We finished unloading and setting up this event with plenty of time to spare. The Donor Alliance people were real happy campers.

Remember you can register to be an organ donor at your DMV or on-line at the Donor Alliance site. Please register, it is that important.

Rett’s Syndrome

Rett’s Syndrome Strollathon is happening on August 2nd at Clement Park…. Balloons by Absolute Value has been involved in this event since it began and again is proud to participate this year.

Rett Syndrome is a disorder of the nervous system that leads to development reversals, especially in language and hand use. Rett’s occurs almost exclusively in girls and may be misdiagnosed as autism or cerebral palsy. The condition affects about 1 out of 10,000 children.

The disease slowly progresses until the patient is a teenager. Then symptoms may improve. For example, seizures or breathing problems tend to lessen in late adolescence. Now I am no expert on this disease, but you can find out more about Rett’s Syndrome on the internet. Check it out..

If you like to walk or run…..this would be a great event for you. Help support the great people, parents and relatives of this terrible disease.