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Balloon release allows for reflection, celebration of Austin Houser

Austin Houser was looking down from Heaven, and his head was bigger than the circumference of the balloons being released in his honor.


Ellenna Houser talks with her son Jeffery Monday at Austin's balloon release at Huntsville Cemetery.

FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Supporters prepare to release balloons Monday in memory of Austin Houser. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | NATE SMITH)

That’s how Ellenna Houser said her son reacted to the outpouring of support Monday from dozens of supporters who converged at the site of the teen’s grave to share stories and celebrate his life.

“I know (Austin) is looking down today and he sees all of you out here for him and it’s giving him a big head,” Ms. Houser said, adding she can’t wait to see her son again someday.

“He’s up there smiling big and wide because all you came out here today for him.”

Friends and family who came out to Huntsville Cemetery following the sentencing hearing of the woman charged in the boy’s death attached notecards to their balloons with prayers and messages dedicated to Austin.

His grave remains decorated with colorful flowers. Ms. Houser also placed Austin’s portrait at the foot of his grave, with the help of her six-year-old son, Jeffery, whom will miss Austin most, Ms. Houser said in court.

Speaking at the sentencing hearing, Ms. Houser said her son aspired to join the service, become an Alaska state trooper and eventually become a big rig mechanic.

The group recited the Lord’s Prayer as the balloons were released.

Logan County Prosecutor William T. Goslee also said a few words prior to the balloon release. Mr. Goslee said the occasion was a time to remember Austin, and all those who left Earth before us — while remembering we will join them again someday.

He said in a way, releasing the balloons can be considered a celebration of Austin and all the people he touched.       

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