Balloon released in Marine's memory returned to mother second ye - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

Balloon released in Marine's memory returned to mother second year in a row

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Theresa Bowles- Schweizer Theresa Bowles- Schweizer
Brandon Bowles Brandon Bowles
Larry Umbarger Larry Umbarger
John Wood and Julie John Wood and Julie

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A balloon released in a Marine's memory found its way back to his mother for the second year in a row.

Theresa Bowles- Schweizer does not underestimate the power of prayer and signs from above. On March 14, 2012 her son, Marine Cpl. Brandon Bowles, passed away. He died in a car accident after serving two tours overseas.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Balloon released in Marine's memory is returned to mother]

To help cope with his loss a year later Bowles-Schweizer and her family released balloons with messages to Brandon and the response she received was just the hope and encouragement she needed.

Former Marine Larry Umbarger found the balloon on his farm in Groseclose, Virginia nearly 400 miles away.

"I couldn't talk to her without crying and Marines don't cry, but yes they do," said Umbarger.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Mother uses Craigslist in hopes of paying off her military son's funeral]

Fast forward one year later - Bowles-Schweizer released another single balloon. This time along with a message for her son, she signed her name.

Then in May, John Wood was walking along a dried up creek on his property in Amesville, Ohio with his girlfriend Julie when the deflated balloon caught his eye.

"I was really surprised that it had Kentucky on it that would also be something that inspired me, like 'woah we've got to get this back,'" he said.

This time the balloon was found 260 miles away. "Having worked with a lot of returning veterans it stuck out to me," said Wood.

Wood spent many years working for Outward Bound, a non profit organization that helps returning service members readjust to life at home through wilderness expeditions.

Wood and his girlfriend wrote Bowles-Schweizer a note and sent her the balloon back.

"I got the message that they found it on my son's birthday," said Bowles-Schweizer.

They signed the letter saying they wished the balloon could have made it Brandon instead of them.

"I think it did," said Bowles-Schweizer. "I think he is sending them where they need to go to get back to me.

After her son's death Bowles-Schweizer started the non profit organization Heroes to Rest, which helps military families pay for their veteran's funeral expenses not killed in the line of duty.

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