Students release balloons for classmates killed in crash

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Submitted: Fri, 03/11/2011 - 4:49pm
Updated: Mon, 03/14/2011 - 3:47pm

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Students in Brunswick County took time this morning to remember two classmates killed in a car crash earlier this week.

The Waccamaw School released dozens of balloons in honor of kindergartner Gavin Williams and his brother fourth grader Kendall. The boys and their parents died in a crash with a school bus Tuesday.

Gavin’s classmates and friends released blue balloons, while Kendall’s released green for the boys’ favorite colors. Students who rode the bus involved in the crash, which the boys usually rode to and from school, released yellow balloons.

A funeral for all four members of the family is scheduled for Tuesday at First Baptist Church in Shallotte.


  • anne says:

    I can understand the school wanting to do something in these children’s memory – I know there hearts are breaking over the deaths of these boys, but I think they could have chosen another way. Perhaps planting a tree or garden in their memories. Balloons are environmentally unfriendly. No I am not a “don’t mess with nature” nut either. But balloons can be deadly to birds and other animals that eat them. Their colors make them attractive to animals. Many states have banned the use of balloons being released for weddings, celebrations, etc for that reason. The balloons will soon fall to the ground and become a deadly “food” for some creature. I am sure that is not what anyone wants.

  • Guest11111 says:

    Your comment is about birds? Another tree hugger thats what the world needs right now…..a family of four PEOPLE died… and you are talking birds?

    Why is it that people have more heart for animals that humans….unbelievable!

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    North Carolina has not banned them. Deal with it buttercup. You morons have nothing better to do than find something to complain about. I am sick of you liberal idiots. With any luck a few of them will think the color is very pretty and swallow a few.

  • Guest7969 says:

    I am about as far from a tree hugger as you can get….I hunt and fish..but the first thing I though of when I read the tag line earlier…what a great way to support the turtles….I think a long lasting garden or tree planted would have meant more and lasted for a longer period of time.

    Sad tragedy though!…HORRIBLE that families have to go thru this.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    “I personally am not concerned with birds or turtles.”

    Other people are. Everyone should be. As sad as this tragedy was, releasing balloons is destructive and irresponsible.

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Yes it was destructive and irresponsible. The world will never be right again. Damn hoodlum children. All those balloons may have triggered the tsunamis in Japan. What were they thinking? Remind me tomorrow and I will pretend to care about the birds and turtles.

  • Guest666 says:

    If it made the kids feel better, let the balloons rise. I personally am not concerned with birds or turtles. We have plenty of both. If they are dumb enough to eat a rubber balloon, maybe that is just natures way of weeding out the weaker ones. Anyhow, I think that a tree being planted would be a very nice memorial to the family that died and would serve as such for many, many years to come.

  • Lindsay Yates says:

    What took place at Waccamaw School this moring ment more to the families and friends of the family that was killed than any birds will ever mean to anyone. I can not even believe that someone took the time to think about birds at a time like this and then went so fas as to put it on the internet. I am sure that it will make the family feel so much better that someone as dumb as you is more worried about birds than their children, grandchildren, nephews and cousins. By the way, they did not only release balloons. The children cut out paper angels and attached them to the balloons with a message on them to send “to the children”. I hope you feel as small as you sound!!!

  • BL says:

    I have to agree- releasing balloons is irresponsible. A tree or monument also lasts much longer and would be a much more fitting tribute to this family. The balloons will only drift off and fall somewhere as unsightly litter or even dangerous “food” for some unsuspecting turtle…
    My deepest condolences to the family and friends.

  • Outraged says:

    Are you people serious. These people just lost FOUR family member’s . Do you get the magnitude of that . Why dont you keep your idiotic thought’s to yourself. If this is how they want to greave let them . You guy’s dont have a right to put them down for how the school or the family want’s to pay their respects. Have you guys ever thought that for little one’s this might be hard to understand . Maybe baloons and a message attatched was an easier way for them to understand. I am just completely shocked that in a time like this all you guys can think about is birds! Have some respect. My sincerest appologies to the family for this ignorance on this page. My condolences for your loss , the entire family is in my thoughts and prayers.

  • KK says:

    i agree with you

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    We have known for years about the dangers that balloons pose to sea turtles. It was a careless stunt and if you ask me, a pretty cheap “tribute.”

    Speaking of respect, why don’t you try having some respect for nature? I doubt very much that the family would have wanted to take a few sea turtles with them.

  • erik says:

    why are people any more deserving of life than any other animal?

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    Maybe with some time Erik you will figure that out. Think long and hard. I am sure it will come to you after awhile.

  • Guest dude says:

    It’s still an AMEN moment.


  • Guest says:

    I am apart of the family that was tragically taken from us this week. I have read the comments that have been written and placed on this page. I would LOVE to add my opinion.I completely understand the people being concerned over the wild life possibly being harmed if they by chance eat one of the balloons that were released into the sky.Obviously there are some people that don’t understand that these were young children releasing balloons. They are not concerned with the environment because they are simply children. They see the balloons as something that is fun and floats into the sky.If they had wanted to plant a garden or tree as a memorial then that would have been just as nice.It doesn’t seem to matter one way or another what anyone does.Whether it be a quiet moment of silence,a prayer,viewing,funeral,or the releasing of balloons.There will ALWAYS be someone that has something to say and it is usually hurtful and inconsiderate.The problem is that people don’t know when to mind their own business and keep their mouths shut.As the old saying goes…”If you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all!!!”My family are very thankful and grateful for the memorial service that we had the honor of sharing today with the students,faculty,parents,friends and loved ones at Waccamaw School this morning.I would like to thank everyone that was apart of this very special memorial and those that made it possible. The Rising family is extremely grateful and words can not express how much this morning meant to us!!!

  • erik says:

    I read your comments and am sorry for your loss I agree this is terrible. I also think the children who released ballons did so to remember those that have passed nobody thinks that they didn’t think about the impact this has. It;s the adults that should THINK about what they are doing. Again sorry for your loss.

  • Guest says:

    After I wrote this comment and posted it,I realized that I forgot to mention a particular conversation that I had with the children at school this morning.The children believed that the balloons being released were floating up to heaven.They also believed that Kendell and Gavin would be able to read the personal messages that these grieving children,their friends had written and attached to the balloons on angels that they had cut out of paper and personalized themselves.They believed that God would have Kendell and Gavin sit down as if they were in their classes at school and that God,just like a teacher would read each and every message to the boys as if he were reading them their favorite book. I stood and watched the very sad,very confused children cry their eyes out.They are so young,impressionable and very vulnerable right now.They don’t understand why this has happened.I am an adult and I don’t understand why either!However,we as adults are suppose to teach,protect,comfort,and most of all love our children and do whatever we can to take any pain away from them.Try to look at this tragedy through an innocent child’s eyes and think back to when you yourself were a child.Death is hard for anyone to come to terms with and if releasing balloons into the sky to reach the heavens give those precious kids peace then who are you to say anything negative about it. No one that attended the memorial service this morning thought for one minute that what had been planned and what took place was anything bad.After the balloons were released I looked up and watched the sky as the balloons floated up to the heavens until you could no longer see them.After that, the mood changed from being sad to a more comforting and peaceful feeling.Now there were still children crying and grieving but,that will continue to happen.No one knows how long it will take the Waccamaw School family to get back in a normal routine and come to terms of the horrible tragedies they have had to endure within the past 2 weeks.I myself send many prayers to each of the students and faculty that in the next few weeks they will find comfort and closure and the school will get back to the way the students are accustomed.I also pray for the people who lack compassion and are honestly worried about wild life being endangered.And by the way, I am a humongous animal lover and hate when something happens to one but,I do value human life more.Especially when that life abruptly comes to an end!! The bible says that “God gave his only son that whoso ever beliefth in him shall not perish but,have ever lasting life.JOHN 3:16.No where in that verse did it say that God gave his sons life for a bird or turtle.As I said earlier,the service this morning was beautiful!!!

    I will miss my dear family more than I could ever begin to put into words but,days like today seem to help and it definitely eases that pain in your heart and soul!!!I will pray for those who seem to be more interested in animal life than human life.I pray that they don’t lose a family member let alone 4 at one time and turn on their computers to read how cruel some people are.To those of you that celebrated with us today I am so very,very grateful to you!!!!

  • Guest says:

    So you think Common is a moron and a liberal idiot. He’s so much against it he had to insult children.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Please, point that out to me….

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    “If you ask me” Well cupcake no one asked you. Liberal trash. We have known for years about the dangers you liberals pose to the rest of the REAL world. Shame you didn’t chew on some balloons as a youth.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    Do you ever take the time to READ who writes any particular comment, or do you simply shoot from the hip using the “good conservative checklist?”

    Here’s the simple fact about this – you do not do things that intentionally harm wildlife (or any other aspect of nature) unless you have a great reason and there are no other options. I’m all for drilling in ANWR. I’m all for drilling off the East Coast. I’m about the most pro-Titan poster on here.

    But you do NOT release dozens of balloons that the prevailing wind will take over the ocean and where they will likely kill wildlife when there were about a hundred other ways that we could have had paid tribute to the family, involved the school children, and done something a bit more permanent.

    Love your last line! Obviously people posting a logical, reasonable opinion truly bothers you, huh?

    Too bad!

  • waccamawmom says:

    @ “commensense” . You’ve made your point and said what you needed to say now please leave this family and the grieving community alone with your comments that obviously no one but you care about. I pray you never have to suffer a loss like this family but I pray even harder you never have to bury a turtle or bird that means so much to you. These animals are breeding and will be replaced, but this family will never be. Find something better to do with your time than share your ignorance. Isn’t there a soldiers funeral somewhere you could go and protest at? Enough is enough!!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    I made my comments AFTER other people addressed the environmental issue and caught grief for it. So there ARE people other than me who care, and they have a right to express their opinions without being called names or subjected to intimidation by “board warriors.”

    Second, if you think this is in anyway related to the family or community, you obviously have a difficult time separating concepts and ideas. The family was quite busy elsewhere, and likely had no hand in planning this. The teachers at that school, however, knew better. I’m surprised some of the children didn’t bring the issue up themselves, as I though just about everyone knew that balloon releases are a very bad idea. Up in Havelock they are taught that in second grade intro to science.

    It’s unfortunate that you cannot recognize an attempt to educate people, but choose instead to think of this as some kind of harassment.

    Let me emphasize a basic concept for you: You do not WASTE nature under any circumstances. The man who shoots an animal and feeds his family with it is making use of a natural resource. The man who shoots an animal and lets its carcass lie there to rot is a fool. Balloon releases are remarkably similar – they endanger and possibly waste wildlife, when there are about a dozen other tributes that would have been far better and might have even helped the children understand the importance of protecting nature.

  • Granny says:

    I am the mother of Joshua and the grandmother of Gavie and Kendall. I was so thankfull that the childrens classmates wanted to do this tribute to them. Along with Brandy’s family, we are mouring a loss that I hope that no one should have to experience. To be invited to share with Gavie and Kendall’s classmates in this experience meant so much to me. Those children lost their friends and we lost our loved ones. To sit and watch these children mourn was almost more than I could bear. As we go through this terrible time, the comments and concern these small children showed to us, the family members, will be a memory that I will carry for a long time. I agree with Brandy’s family: if you can not say something positive please say nothing. We, as a united family, are having to deal with too much and to read negative comments is just to upsetting. My son Joshua and his wife Brandy, along with their sons, loved and respected nature. I am sorry that this very special memory will be scarred with some thoughtloss comments by someone who did not take the time to think through the negative impact those comments would have on us. And to those of you who did realize the impact those comments would have…bless you for understanding that small children mourning the loss of friends really only think of what a wonderful way to show love and to the school for allowing us, the family members, to take part in this service..Thank you so much.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …if you are interpreting the comments about releasing balloons as “negative,” that is your choice. No one is denigrating the children, your family, or trivializing your pain.

    We are simply pointing out that this form of tribute DOES harm wildlife, and is something that we should all reject regardless of the occasion. Game-maker THQ just caught a ton of bad PR and a huge clean-up bill for doing the same thing.

    I am sure that your grandsons would agree, as this is routinely taught in elementary science classes now. I’m sure they would not want to harm sea turtles…and they do great harm to turtles and birds. The animal literally starves to death while sufferring incredible sickness, as the balloon forms a gastro-intestinal blockage and the animal cannot eat.

    Did the school consider having the children plant trees? Saplings could have been obtained free from the Deaprtment of Agriculture, and would have been there for many, many years, unlike a balloon that drifted off and vanished. The trees would have been a long-lasting tribute to your grandsons. The children would see them every day and remember Gavin and Kendall..

    The school could have chosen a butterfly or bird release. Did your grandsons have any favorite animals? They could have started a permanent “Gavin and Kendall Fund” at the shool and collected money every year to assist in caring for those animals.

    I’m sorry that you feel we’re being negative – that is certainly not my intention. My intention is simply to point out that a balloon release celebrates a life by causing another creature’s death, and that there are far better choices. You had far more pressing matters to care for, but the teachers at that school knew better.

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