Flying high: Balloon release honors Skyler Boring, Jackson Chandler Trent
By Wes Wade | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
It wasn’t the football players who took midfield at Heritage High School Friday night before the Mountaineers’ game against William Blount. The two dozen friends and family members who gathered at the 50-yard line were there to release balloons in memory of a lost loved one.
About 45 red balloons were released for Skyler Boring, a recent Heritage graduate who was killed in May in an apparent accidental shooting. Many of the balloons had special messages attached written by friends and fellow classmates.
Several blue balloons were also released for Jackson Chandler Trent, a Maryville teen who shot himself behind a South Knoxville recreation Center in June.
Both Boring and Trent were 17 years of age when they died.
Those gathered also took the time to honor former Heritage mechanics teacher James Michael “Thunder” Roberts, who died last month after his truck crashed on Webb Road in Townsend. Jeff McCroskey, a Heritage High graduate and teacher at Seymour High School who died earlier this year, was also remembered as part of the release.
Jerry Mincey, Boring’s grandfather, said the release was about celebrating Skyler’s life.
“It was more of a celebration I think and the remembrance of a special kid,” Jerry Mincey said. “It was just a really good feeling. It was like Skyler was looking down at me saying, ‘Enjoy the game, grandpa.’”
Judy Mincey, Boring’s grandmother, said she had no idea a balloon release was being planned until earlier in the week.
“This was an unexpected show of support from his classmates, teammates and all the kids that loved Skyler at Heritage,” she said.
The Heritage High School student council came up with the idea for the balloon release. Food City donated the balloons and members of the council manned a booth selling bracelets and stickers in memory of Boring.
Kailey Headrick and Avalon Potter, student council members who were manning the booth Friday evening, explained that Heritage’s athletic director, Robbie Bennett, will allow the booth to be set up at every home game.
All proceeds from the sales will benefit Amy Boring, Skyler Boring’s mother, with medical and funeral expenses. T-shirts were also being sold to benefit the family of Roberts.
Sarah Hood, a senior and student council member, said Boring was never seen without a smile on his face.
“He was always smiling,” Hood said. “He was a very happy person and always tried to make people laugh.