Derby family’s balloon travels nearly a thousand miles


The Larson family of Derby gathers every November to remember the loss of their very special patriarch.

Tom Larson passed away two years ago of a heart attack. On the anniversary of his passing, his family gathers at his grave site to do a balloon release. Granddaughter Amber Larson wrote her name and contact information along with a love note to her grandpa and released the balloon on November 18.

It took awhile and nearly a 1,000 miles, but Larson’s balloon came back to her.

“Mine happened to be found way in Ohio,” Larson said.

A hunter near Bethesda, Ohio reported seeing the balloon stuck in some trees near his hunting grounds on November 27. It was about 60 feet in the air, so JR Whiteley left it alone. On Sunday of this week, he was back hunting again.

“I noticed the balloon was on the ground, lo and behold I found what we’re dealing with now,” Whiteley said.

Using the information attached to the balloon, Whiteley contacted Larson to let her know he found her balloon. Initially, Larson felt shock.

“I’m surprised the balloon even went that far and survived the weather and trees. I never would have thought that was even possible,” Larson said.

Whiteley mailed the balloon and the note back to Larson which she plans to display in a shadow box.

“I definitely feel like it’s a God thing, it’s a sign from him (grandfather) that he’s watching over me and smiling down on me,” Larson said.

Google maps shows Bethesda, Ohio is 966 miles from Derby or over a 14 hour drive.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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