The sky was filled with red and white balloons Friday while below, tears flowed at Maverick Stadium. Community members, students and staff gathered for a balloon release in memory of Marshall High School senior Hayden Blalock who was killed in a Wednesday car crash.
The life of Blalock, 17, of Marshall was both mourned and rejoiced during the balloon release as friends and family celebrated and remembered a life cut short too soon.
Blalock, who played defensive tackle on the Maverick’s varsity football team and was active in the Marshall FFA, was killed while driving to school.
School districts in cities across East Texas on Friday dressed in red in honor of Blalock and his Maverick family.
Funeral services for Blalock have been scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Maverick Gymnasium at Marshall High School.
Dairy Queen of Marshall is set to host “Give Back Night“ from 5 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday where they will donate a portion of sales to the Blalock family.
The Blalock family was at Friday’s balloon release and after Blalock’s teachers spoke about his character, the family walked a lap around the track of Maverick Stadium in honor of Blalock’s decision to be an organ donor.
“To know Hayden was to know his huge smile,” Marshall FFA Director Jessica Shadix said on Friday. “To know Hayden was to know his witty personality, his one liner jokes and his ability to keep a straight face while telling those jokes.”
Shadix read from Blalock’s own journal and spoke of how he was an excellent welder.
“God and family are the most important things in my life,” Shadix read from Blalock’s personal journal. “There’s nothing that really makes me that special except that I’m the best bass fisherman in the world. The first day of school is going by slow and I’m ready for senior year to be over. My favorite super hero is myself because I’m amazing at saving the day by making days.”
Shadix also read one of Blalock’s last journal entries.
“My best day hasn’t happened yet,” Blalock wrote when asked by a teacher about what his best day was.
Shadix said Blalock is now having his best day in heaven.
“His very best day has happened,” Shadix said. “Hayden is rejoicing with our Lord Jesus Christ and we can be sure Hayden is experiencing peace and joy in the arms of the Lord.”
Blalock’s friends and teammates on the Maverick football team Kacye Hurd and James Washington said they were looking forward to enjoying the rest of senior year with Blalock.
“He was a hard worker, dedicated, energetic, always kept a smile on his face,” Washington said Friday. “He was like a brother to me. I told his parents I would look out for him.”
Hurd said he will miss the fun times with Blalock.
“He was a brother to all of us really,” Hurd said. “Anything you would ask of him he would do. I think the best way to remember his memory is to remember his dances and his smiles.”
Both Washington and Hurd said they appreciated the show of support from all the neighboring school districts and communities on Friday by wearing red for Blalock.
“It feels good to know that people actually care, other communities actually care” Washington said.
Blalock is the fifth Marshall ISD student to die this year, Gibson said.