COVINGTON, Va. – A balloon with an inspirational message made an incredible journey to the Alleghany Highlands this month.
Ricky Barnett and his son Skyler discovered the balloon on a hike near their Covington home. Thanks to an e-mail address inscribed on the balloon, they discovered it was launched near Houston, Texas — more than a thousand miles away from Covington.
“This is our shooting star,” Barnett said. “This balloon has been a great inspiration to me and my family. It’s drawn us together in the last few days. It shows there is hope.”
The balloon read, “If you see this lucky star, make a wish!”
Tammy Hanson and her grandchildren released the balloons in the Houston suburb of Huffman on Feb. 6. She never expected the balloon to fly that far across the country.
“We were thinking the whole time whether someone would find it or if it would just end up in the ocean,” Hanson said. “I can’t stop smiling about it.”
Hanson and Barnett have been in constant contact ever since the balloon landed.
Barnett said the balloon provided his family with a needed burst of hope after he recently lost his job of more than 30 years.
“This was really needed badly, we were very depressed. It’s amazing how something this simple and small can make a difference in somebody’s life.”
Barnett said he wished for peace when he read the balloon, but his greatest wish already came true when he discovered it.
“It’s the fact that my son was with me when I found it,” Barnett said. “If he didn’t know how much he meant to me, he does now.”