Balloons fill the sky in honor of Haylee Garrison - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Balloons fill the sky in honor of Haylee Garrison

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PEKIN, Ill. (HOI) -- -

Little Haylee Garrison was just like any other 3rd grade girl.     

"She was a girly girl, a typical 3rd grade girl. and she just had a kind gentle soul," said her principal Matt Green.

She liked to eat macaroni and cheese and pizza, riding her bike, listening to music, and wearing lipstick.

A tragic accident on Friday night sent the young girl to the hospital and now that she's gone an entire community is left trying to make sense of the tragedy.

"We're a neighborhood school. I mean you can see all the kids here go to Stark School. We're a community," said Green.

"I'm speechless of what just happened, of losing my daughter's best friend," said neighbor Brandie Stranz. 

Sadly, Haylee died on her 9th birthday.

But family and friends are finding comfort in an outpouring of support.

A memorial continues to grow on the family's doorstep, including a card signed by classmates and even a birthday gift still wrapped.

And just past the front porch close to 100 people gathered for a balloon release on the family's front lawn.
     
In the middle of it all stood Haylee's parents visibly overcome by their grief.

With eyes full of tears, and no words to describe their feelings,  the crowd released their balloons and clung to each other as they watched them drift away. 

And while they mourn the loss of such a sweet, friendly girl, those who knew her say she would have loved the ceremony meant to honor her birthday.. And her life.

"I think she would've been proud of all the people that came out tonight, just to support her," said Stranz.

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