Balloon launch in memory of Drew Hayden, the Comets’ biggest fan


Staff Report



Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Ken and Pat Zapolski remember their grandson, Drew Hayden, seen in a memorial photo at center during a balloon launch Friday at the Comets varsity football game.


Friends and family prepare to release balloons next to the Comets fieldhouse, where a new bench in his memory has been installed facing the stadium.


Twenty-five balloons are released. Drew Hayden wore number 25.


Former teammates gather in green and gold jerseys to remember their friend.


Tears are shed as family once again said goodbye to the Amherst nine-year-old.


Julie Hayden, Drew’s mother, takes a seat on her son’s memorial bench and dabs her eyes after the balloon launch.


Twenty-five balloons rose into the air Friday over Drew Hayden’s beloved Comets football field in a launch to memorialize the former Amherst third-grader.

Drew wore the number 25 jersey on his youth football team. His teachers said he idolized the varsity players.

The nine-year-old was killed in a sledding incident this past December in North Ridgeville, struck by a passing motorist after sliding into the street in the Meadow Lakes subdivision.

As the Comets took the field prior to kickoff, Drew’s family and friends let the balloons float upward from the fieldhouse, where a new memorial bench bearing his name now sits.

Classmates at Harris Elementary School helped raise money to buy the bench by selling paper footballs in green and gold, which were plastered through the winter on walls inside the main entrance.

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Ken and Pat Zapolski remember their grandson, Drew Hayden, seen in a memorial photo at center during a balloon launch Friday at the Comets varsity football game.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4354.jpg

Photos by Jason Hawk | Amherst News-Times Ken and Pat Zapolski remember their grandson, Drew Hayden, seen in a memorial photo at center during a balloon launch Friday at the Comets varsity football game.

Friends and family prepare to release balloons next to the Comets fieldhouse, where a new bench in his memory has been installed facing the stadium.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4322.jpgFriends and family prepare to release balloons next to the Comets fieldhouse, where a new bench in his memory has been installed facing the stadium.

Twenty-five balloons are released. Drew Hayden wore number 25.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4338.jpgTwenty-five balloons are released. Drew Hayden wore number 25.

Former teammates gather in green and gold jerseys to remember their friend.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4342.jpgFormer teammates gather in green and gold jerseys to remember their friend.

Tears are shed as family once again said goodbye to the Amherst nine-year-old.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4348.jpgTears are shed as family once again said goodbye to the Amherst nine-year-old.

Julie Hayden, Drew’s mother, takes a seat on her son’s memorial bench and dabs her eyes after the balloon launch.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2016/09/web1_DSC_4352.jpgJulie Hayden, Drew’s mother, takes a seat on her son’s memorial bench and dabs her eyes after the balloon launch.

Staff Report