Balloon released by Ohio soldier’s daughter is found over 800 miles away

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EATON, OH – Private First Class Gustavo Rios-Ordonez died in Afghanistan when his daughter Isabella was 2-years-old and his daughter Elizabeth was 7-months-old.

And this year, as usual, his widow Tiffani Rios, and the girls visited his gravesite on the date he died. The girls wrote messages to their daddy on balloons and released them into the sky, so their messages could get to daddy in heaven. One of the messages read: “I love and miss you daddy,” along with Elizabeth’s name, hometown, and the date, “5-25-16.”

And it was that balloon that came back to Tiffani, Isabella and Elizabeth in Eaton, Ohio – from over 800 miles away in Newton, Massachusetts.

Heidi Kern Schwartz, of Newton, Massachusetts found the balloon as she was walking to get her son from school.


She first thought the balloon was left over from Memorial Day, but the date on the balloon didn’t match the date of the holiday this year. So she posted the photo of the balloon on Eaton’s VFW Facebook page and hoped that she’d be able to tell Elizabeth just how far her balloon flew.

It worked.

Rios and Schwartz got in touch and Schwartz mailed the balloon back to the family.

The girls were  a little young to understand the huge distance the balloon had travelled, but Rios knows how amazing it is. “This is all pretty exciting. He lives on this way,” she told the Today Show.

Google Map for coordinates 39.743941 by -84.636620.

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