Heavenly balloon launch for Kaylin Gillis

VICTORY MILLS – The folks who gathered in a Victory Mills backyard Saturday night are continuing down a very difficult road. It is a journey that will hopefully take them from heartache to healing.

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The release of pink and purple balloons into the sky are intended to welcome Kaylin Gillis as she arrives at her next destination.

On hand for the heavenly launch were family members, along with Schuylerville High School classmates and cheerleading teammates.

When Kaylin’s father Andy arrived, the first thing he said to the crowd of young people was, “Don’t be afraid to smile.”

It was a message to all that it’s ok to grieve, but it’s also important to celebrate memories and good times that were shared with Kaylin during her 20 short years on earth.

The vigil was held exactly one week after Kaylin’s horrific death on a dark, gravel road in Hebron. Kevin Monahan, 65, has been charged with second degree murder for allegedly opening fire with a shotgun after several vehicles drove into his driveway. One of the slugs struck and killed Kaylin, according to Washington County Sheriff Jeffrey Murphy.

As the balloons drifted skyward to catch up with Kaylin, what folks on the ground still had no answer to was: how long does it take to mend so many broken hearts?

Those mourners will long remember the tragic irony of Kaylin’s untimely death, how a kind and caring young woman could be taken from them by an act of irrational evil.