Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Breaking News

Z_CNHI News Service

October 22, 2013

Balloon released in Indiana boy's memory makes unlikely flight

RUSSIAVILLE, Ind. — A group of school children in central Indiana released 1,500 colorful balloons into the air last week in tribute to a friend who'd succumbed to a three-year battle with brian cancer. One of those balloons improbably sailed 799 miles and landed in a New England schoolyard, itself no stranger to tragedy.

Children at Western Primary School in Russiaville, Ind. - a town of about 1,100 people that is 60 miles north of Indianapolis - held a ceremony on the playground last Friday to remember Mason Hopkins, a 7-year-old who liked soccer and motorcycles, and called all girls "princesses."

“One of Mason’s best gifts was his ability to fill our buckets with just his friendly smile," his teacher said during the ceremony. "Because Mason touched our hearts in such a special way, we wanted to share that feeling with others. We hope that anyone who sees these balloons in the air today or finds them when they land will also smile and share their smile with others.”

Sure enough, three days later, several people walking their dogs spotted a white balloon outside Hunking Middle School in Haverhill, Mass. Attached was a note that read, "In memory of Mason Hopkins. You will be missed by Western Primary."

They shared the find with Principal Jared Fulgoni, who at first couldn't believe the ballon traveled as far as it did. An Internet search confirmed its origin and turned up an obituary written after Mason's death on Oct. 5.

His story resonated at the middle school, where a student recently died of cancer and a custodian several years ago lost his 8-year-old son to brain cancer.

“So, for us to have had this balloon float down to us was a powerful experience,” Fulgoni said. “It had given its all to make it here. It was weathered and beaten. It was in pretty rough shape.”

Western Primary Principal Steve Arthur said he was surprised to hear from the school in Massachusetts. Teachers in Russiaville are using its journey as an educational opportunity and another way to remember Mason.

“He loved coming to school,” Arthur said. “He loved to learn. He would be excited to find out where the balloons ended up. We hope to use this in a positive way.”

Lindsey Ziliak writes for the Kokomo, Ind., Tribune.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Z_CNHI News Service
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Basketball stars may linger on campus a while longer

    The NBA seems serious about raising its minimum age, which could signal the end of the one-and-done era in college basketball.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do your genes make you procrastinate?

    Procrastinators, in my experience, like nothing better than explaining away their procrastination: General busyness, fear of failure, and simple laziness are just a handful of the excuses and theories often tossed around. Now researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder have added another option to the list: genetics.

    April 21, 2014

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • VIDEO: Moose charges snowmobile, flees after warning shot

    While snowmobiling in New England, Bob and Janis Powell of Maine were charged by a moose and caught the entire attack on camera.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries
Poll
Kelly Lafferty's video on Tom Miller