A light, cool breeze carried messages into the heavens on Friday night, messages for Janie.
After Havelock’s home football game, dozens gathered on the track and released white balloons into the sky in remembrance of Janie Queen, who died Thursday in a car crash in Havelock.
“I’ve known Janie since I was 7,” said Amanda Rodriguez, one of the organizers of Friday’s tribute. “She always said I was her first friend in Havelock. I was frustrated I couldn’t say goodbye. I wanted to get a message to her, and I thought what better way than to release some balloons.”
Rodriguez attends college at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and drove to Havelock Friday for the balloon release, which was organized through social media.
“I’m just really upset I couldn’t say goodbye,” she repeated through tears.
Havelock fans stood in unison before Friday’s game in a moment of silence for the 2010 Havelock High graduate, who was a former cheerleader and softball player and who was also involved in the school’s music program. Many fans wore white ribbons in honor of the 20-year-old, as did current band members and cheerleaders.
Many of the balloons had simple messages: “Rest in Peace Janie Queen,” “You will be missed dearly,” and “I will miss you. But, you’re in a better place now.”
Rodriguez said her balloon carried a message she knew Janie would understand.
“I was your first friend in Havelock. Make sure I’m your first friend in heaven.”
Besides the release of balloons, the group also took up donations and raised $400 for the Queen family.
Queen's funeral will be 6 p.m. Monday at Abundant Life Full Gospel Baptist Church, 308 West Main St., Havelock. Visitation and viewing will be held beginning at 4 p.m. at the church.