Before balloons fly at Balloons Over Vermilion Friday night there will be a salute to Julius W. Hegeler II who recently died. Hegeler became a huge supporter of the event after he learned its primary goal was to make sure children have a good time.
Pat O’Shaughnessy, one of the men who led efforts to bring a hot air ballooning event back to Danville several years after the Balloon Classic ended, says getting Hegeler’s support ‘’was kind of like getting a Good House Keeping Seal of approval.’’ O’Shaughnessy says once the Julius W. Hegeler II Foundation placed its support behind Balloons Over Vermilion, other foundations followed.
Hegeler will be remembered with a special program prior to Friday evening’s Parade of (Hot Air Balloon) Pilots at the Vermilion Regional Airport. The tribute will begin at 5:45 p.m. and will include the National Anthem sung by the Danville Barbershop Chorus, an American Legion Color Guard, brief remarks by emcee Mike Hulvey, and Taps. And third grade students from Michelle Esteppes class at South West Elementary School will release balloons in honor of Hegeler. The class is the official host class of this year’s Balloons Over Vermilion. There will also be a fly-over by four Korean War-era war birds, which will perform the ‘missing man’ formation honoring Hegeler.
Those attending Balloons Over Vermilion are invited to attend the 15-minute ceremony (which again will begin at 5:45 p.m. Friday).
[This story posted July 11, 2019.]