Balloon Festival held in memory of TSU student

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 12, 2002

Features Editor

A Troy State University student will be remembered in a way that his friends believe is a fitting memorial to his life.

There is little doubt in the minds of the friends and family of Steven Dobarzynski that he would have reached great heights in whatever endeavor he chose in life. However, his life was cut far too short, at age 20,

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when he lost his battle with cancer March 25, 2002.

Friends decided a fitting tribute to Dobarzynski and the high spirits with which he lived his life and faced his illness would be for hot air balloons to fill the sky in memory of this wonderful young man.

John Hager of Enterprise was a friend of Steven’s dad and suggested a balloon festival as a memorial the young man.

"I have a friend who is a balloonist and he is also a cancer survivor," Hager said. "He organized a balloon festival in Savannah to help raise money for the American Cancer Society. I thought it would be a good idea to do the same for Steven. I thought it would be of greater benefit than to send flowers.

So, this weekend, Hager and friends will send up balloons in memory of Steven.

The Steven Dobarzynski Memorial Balloon Festival is planned for April 20 and 21 at the Enterprise Municipal Airport and promises two day of fun and excitement.

The festival will get underway at 6:30 a.m. Saturday with the Balloon Race Morning Launch.

At 3 p.m. balloons will be in the air and aircraft and fire engines will be on display. There will be a Harley Davidson ride-in and display and non-stop entertainment.

There will be special activities for the children including face painting and coloring contests.

"And, if the weather permits, we will have balloon tether rides for the kids," Hager said. "So, we are hoping for good weather because the kids will really enjoy that."

At 5 p.m., again if weather permits, the balloonists will

launch and go where the wind takes them, but no farther than necessary so they will be able to get back for a special memorial tribute to Steven.

At 7 p.m. Steven Dobarzynski will be remembered in a very special way.

There will be a nighttime Balloon Glow, which includes the twinkling of the lighted balloons.

"Around sunset, we will line up all eight of the balloons and went it gets dark, the balloonists will hit the burners and the balloons will glow," Hager said. "At that time, we will have a short memorial to Steven. It should be an impressive memorial. We have invited his fraternity brothers (Kappa Kappa Psi) at Troy State to be a part of this memorial tribute and we are hoping they will join us."

On Sunday, there will be a hot air balloon race beginning at 6:30 p.m. that will bring the Steven Dobarzynski Memorial Balloon Festival to a close.

Admission to the festival is a minimum donation of $3. All donated money will go to support the American Cancer Society, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Marrow Foundation, Enterprise High School Band and the Troy State University Band.

Dobarzynski was diagnosed with leukemia in August and received a bone marrow transplant in an effort to give him a chance at life.

He was a member of the Enterprise High School Band during is high school days and was a member of the TSU band at the time of his death.

Steven’s parents are his mother, Ann Lester, and stepfather, John Lester, of Troy and father, Robert, and stepmother, Carley, Dobarzynski of Enterprise.