While Lost and Found of the Ozarks' annual Memorial Balloon Release and 5k Run may only be in its second year, the impact is being felt.
This year several Forest Institute students and faculty participated in the event as part of the "Give A Day" program, designed to give everyone on campus a way to contribute time to different community service organizations.
The balloon release and 5k run is held each year to remember lost loved ones in our community.
For student Rob Liles who participated in the event, it was about more than just volunteering.
"I lost someone close to me this March, and it was really nice to be able to not just attend this event--but also to help with it," said Liles. "Grief is such a hard concept for most people to truly acknowledge--let alone comprehend."
Lost and Found of the Ozarks works with people to educate and support them as they try to move forward through the grieving process after losing a loved one.
"It felt good, for me personally, to be around so many people that directly knew the sort of thing I was going through without any of us needing to say it out loud," said Liles.
This year more than 2,000 environmentally friendly balloons were released at Jordan Valley Park, along with the 5k run, to memorialize lives lost.
"It was truly amazing to see such a large turnout of volunteers and participants. It speaks miles about the Springfield area and the Lost and Found organization," said Forest student Matt Spencer. "Volunteering for events like this one always inspires me to continue giving, and I cannot wait until next year."
Also volunteering were Ashley Kopp, Kate Higgins, Julie Gouy, and Jamie Bell.
Give A Day programs are scheduled throughout the year and are available on our website calendar, Edvance360, and our social media pages.