“We were all fortunate to share his life and time with us,” Spirit of Boise co-founder Steve Schmader said before the tribute flight in honor of Larry Gebert. rice field.
BOISE, Idaho — Larry Gebert wasn’t a hot air balloon pilot, but the pilots who flock to Boise every year for the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic at Ann Morrison Park on Friday said he was honored as a member of the hot air balloon family. Five months and one day since Gebert died at the age of 65.
As a tribute to KTVB’s longtime meteorologist and philanthropist, Steve Schmeder, Chairman and CEO of the International Festival Association, explained what was about to happen.
“When a beloved pilot dies, a tribute flight begins. Representing both: not only those left behind, but also the joy and special memories they shared with so many, honoring their lifelong devotion to their friends, family and community. and left us all to keep building,” Schmader said, addressing the crowd Friday morning.
Minutes before sunrise, Larry’s wife, Julie Gebert, was among those lifted into the smoky blue sky in a tribute balloon. The balloon was decorated with the words “You Are Not Forgotten” printed on it, and the basket had a POW/MIA flag and three black flags in it. under.
Schmeder, now president and CEO of the International Festival Association, has created the now Boise Festival, named after another co-founder, balloonist Scott Spencer, who died in 2019. He is considered the co-founder of what is known as the Scott Spencer Spirit of Balloon Classics. .
Gebert has been there with Spencer and Schmader since his first classic at the Boise River Festival in 1991.
“Larry embodied community and embraced all that brought us together,” Schmader said. “By the rights I may still have invested in me, I want to acknowledge Larry Gebert as proud of Boise. We were lucky to share with you.
“For the past 30+ years, mornings have seen spectacular canyons of color appear in the fields, in addition to the sound of burners, with joy and awe on the faces of children, family and friends. Filled like an artist’s palette and hidden in our imaginations, the Spirit of Boise is a perpetually welcoming, towering fixture and face of our community, KTVB meteorologists “It wouldn’t be complete without Larry Gebert, who is.”
Closing his Friday morning remarks, Schmader looked up at the sky and said, The wind is always on your side and will be with us on every flight. “
You can watch the entire tribute in the video posted below.
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