Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

March 30, 2014

Discovery of balloon with message earns heartfelt thanks

BRUSHFORK — When Willie Beljam’s dog, “Ross Parker” came walking out of the woods with a ribbon in his mouth, Beljam was curious to learn more about the person — Ronnie Walls, who was named on the heart-shaped message attached to the ribbon. Ross Parker found the ribbon near Beljam’s Littlesburg Road home last Sunday. Beljam said that learning more about the person named on the heart-shaped card connected to the ribbon touched his heart.

“Ronnie Walls just seemed like such a good person who did so much for his family and his community,” Beljam said. “My girlfriend and I are going to put the message that was on the paper heart, the ribbon and the newspaper article in an envelope and mail it back to the cemetery where they released the balloon from.”

Beljam’s simple act of contacting his local newspaper to learn more about Ronnie Walls attracted the attention of  people in Danville, Ky., where the family of Ronnie Walls had released the balloon from.

“I’m so thankful that the man and his dog let someone know about the ribbon and heart they found,” Joyce Walls wrote in an email message. “We let the balloons go on Saturday, March 22, 2014. The release was delayed because of bad weather in February. It means so much to us to hear of his balloon and message.” Joyce Walls was Ronnie Walls’ wife of 51 years.

“Ronnie loved his family so much,” she wrote. “He was so sick, but he was determined to make a last trip to Florida with all of us and he wanted to go to the dog races in Florida.” According to his obituary, Ronnie Walls passed away in Florida on June 27, 2012, and his funeral service was in Danville, Ky., on July 3, 2012.

“He had made lots of trips to West Virginia to the dog races and we smiled thinking that his balloon was trying to get back to the dog track,” she wrote. “Give our thanks to Mr. Beljam and his dog, Ross Parker. This has given us so much joy.” The email was signed by Mrs. Walls and all of their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Jayne Morris of Danville Memorial Gardens also shared her words of thanks in an email message. She explained that the balloon release was originally set for February, but was delayed due to weather. She said it was “so very exciting” to learn that one of the balloons they released on March 22, traveled so far. “The balloon Ross Parker found was one of 125 traveling with heart-filled messages,” Morris wrote. “The actions of Mr. Beljam are deeply appreciated by all of us here in Danville and especially the Walls’ family.

“As a side note, I personally, am not surprised by Mr. Beljam’s efforts to locate the people on the other end of the message,” Morris wrote. “Mountain people are the best. I know as I was born and raised myself in Williamson.”

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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