Moylan Family Connection

Moylan Family connection to ballooning (includes some strange coincidences)

1944:  Future Deptford Township police officer Stephen Moylan is born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Stephen was named after one of his ancestors:  General Stephen Moylan, who served under President George Washington.

1963:  Stephen Moylan (Steve), who had moved from Philadelphia PA to Deptford NJ, was a senior at Deptford High School.  One of the events at Deptford High School was a mock election where students “ran” for public office.  Steve was elected youth week chief of police.  Several days were spent with the chief and officers (all of which were part time).  Steve learned that Deptford planned to start a full time police department within two or three years.

1964:  Steve’s girlfriend Carol (who he married in 1967) worked at Penn Mutual Insurance Company on Walnut Street in Philadelphia.  He would often pick her up there but was unaware of the locations connection to ballooning until the year 2000.

1966:  Steve is sworn in as one of the original officers when Deptford Township Police Department went full-time.

1973:  A photo was taken and published by the Gloucester County Times Newspaper of Steve and his son Steven attending the first Deptford Day community event.  Twenty-five years later, Steven would co-pilot the “First & Finest” maiden flight from Deptford Day.

1978:  July 4th weekend:  In honor of America’s birthday a dozen hot air balloons launched from the area of the Art Museum in Philadelphia.  Several of these balloons landed in Deptford.  The newspapers covered this event with stories and photos.  One of the photos shows local kids packing up a balloon.  Prominate in the photo is 8 year old Steven who in twenty years would be the copilot of the “First & Finest.”

1992:  Lt. Steve Moylan designed a uniform police shoulder patch commemorating America’s first manned flight.

1993:  The organization “FAVIA” (First Air Voyage In America) celebrates by flying numerous hot air balloons from Philadelphia to Deptford.

1993:  Penn Mutual Insurance Company publishes the book “First Air Voyage in America,” based on the journal of Jean Piere Blanchard (pilot) and numerous historians.

1993:  Deptford Township welcome signs, street signs, landmark signs and township vehicles display balloon art work.

Lt. Steve Moylan  –  Ptl. Bob Irving  –  Sgt. Rich Burkhardt

1993:  Deptford Township Police Lt. Steve Moylan is assigned to supervise police protection at numerous hot air balloon events.  Similar events are now held yearly.

1995:  During one of these events, Lt. Steve met balloon pilot Harry Colison and they became friends.  Harry soon convinced Steve to join his crew and to fly with him.  Steve began to think about flying a balloon for Deptford Township.

1997:  Steve developed a plan and presented it to the Chief of Police, Mayor and Council.  The plan was approved and put in motion

1998:  Steve’s son, Steven is certified by the Federal Aviation Administration, as a hot air balloon pilot.

1998:  During Deptfrod Day events the First & Finest, piloted by Harry Colison and co-piloted by Steven Moylan, launched from Fasola Park and landed in the area of the Deptford Mall.  This became the first of hundreds of flights over the years.

Steve at his retirement dinner

2000:  Steve retired from Deptford Township Police and finally found the time to read the entire book “First Air Voyage in America.”  He discovered the book was published by Penn Mutual Insurance Company (where Steve’s wife Carol worked in the 1960’s).  Penn Mutual now stands on the site where Blanchard launched his flight.  The book mentions that General Moylan and Blanchard met and the General was a witness to the historic flight.

2001:  After retirement from Deptford Township Police, Steve Moylan joined the staff of the McGuinness Family Funeral Home of Woodbury, NJ.  He later learned that a relative of the McGuinness family was Yvonne (Blanchard) Schultes.  A decedent of Jean Pierre Blanchard.  Steve was introduced to Mrs. Blanchard-Schultes and her children.  What a honor!

2004:  The original First & Finest (on loan to us since 1998) was wearing out.  We were informed by the FAA that it soon may no longer be classified as air worthy.

A fund drive was started and with the financial assistance of State, County and Local Law Enforcement fraternal organizations, as well as businesses and individual donations, a down payment was placed on a new “First & Finest.”

Harry Collison and his wife Diane, bought a balloon and started a new business: “Two Angels Balloons.”

2005:  The maiden voyage of the new First & Finest was at the “Flight For Sight” charity event, at Gloucester County College in Deptford, NJ.

2005:  After meeting members of the Blanchard family in 2001, we became friends and were able to take them on some ballooning adventures, as well as donate flights to charities, with which they are involved.  What a honor!

Harry Collison / 1960 – 2010

2010:  Harry Collison, the original senior pilot of the “First & Finest,” died of cancer at the age of 50.


I first met Harry in the 1990’s at which tie he very quickly and quietly infected me with the “Hot Air Balloon Bug.”  I will forever be grateful to Harry for that infection.From that infection grew a friendship. 

From that friendship came the “Birth” of the “First & Finest” hot air balloon organization.  I will forever be grateful to Harry for that “Birth.”

Because of Harry’s Love of Life.
Because of Harry’s Love of People.
Because of Harry’s Love of Ballooning.

But mostly because of Harry’s ability to share his Life and Love, he has touched the Lives of countless people.And because of these contacts the Love and the Sharing will continue.

Steve Moylan

In honor of Harry, the Law Enforcement profession and America’s first manned flight “The First & Finest” will continue flying.

Balloonist’s Prayer

May the winds welcome you with softness, May the sun bless you with its warm hands, May you fly so high and so well, That God joins you in laughter and set you back again into the loving arms of Mother Earth.