Ohio girl’s balloon message for father lands in Newton

NEWTON, MA (WHDH) - A balloon with a message a girl wrote to her father killed in Afghanistan found its way to Newton from Ohio.

Heidi Schwartz was taking a walk in Newton when she found the balloon. The message read, “I love and miss you Daddy. 5/25/16, Eaton, Ohio.” On the back was the name “Elizabeth.”

Schwartz said she wanted to know who Elizabeth was and where the balloon came from. She posted the picture on Eaton’s VFW Facebook page and within hours, the mystery was solved.

The balloon was launched by Elizabeth Rios, a 5-year-old girl in Ohio. Her father was Army Pvt. 1st Class Gustavo Rios. He was killed in Afghanistan in 2011 when Elizabeth was a baby and her sister Isabella was 2 years old. Gustavo’s sister Jennifer said every year on her brother’s birthday, May 25, the family releases balloons. This year would have been his 30th birthday.

“Doing this every year is them showing they still think about him,” said Jennifer Rios. “This being found is a way of him letting them know that he’s thinking about them as well.”

Schwartz has been in contact with Elizabeth’s mother, who asked if she could send the balloon back to her daughter. Schwartz said she will be sending it back to Ohio.

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