NUNDA — The community lost a beloved teacher and friend on Friday during a horrible ballooning accident.
Balloons Over Letchworth has been a successful ballooning company since 1987, but on June 10 tragedy happened to this tight-knit group.
Keshequa teacher and balloonist Ryan Almeter managed to get everyone off the balloon before a gust of wind took him 100 feet into the air on Picket Line Road. Geneseo-based State Police said Almeter was unable to hold on and fell to his death.
Hornell Evening Tribune and Wellsville Daily Reporter employee Chelsea Amrhein was deeply moved by the ceremony the community put together for Almeter on June 12 at Kiwanis Field with about 500 other people.
“What a beautiful tribute to a life lost too soon. Ryan Almeter will be missed by so many...Tonight proved that to be so true,” she said. “I was taken back as I pulled up to the fields this evening as cars filled the parking lots and lined the road side. The amount of people that came together to honor Ryan was overwhelming... I’m so grateful to be a part of a community that comes together in the midst of tragedy and has shown such great support for Ryan and his family.”
Tammie Hanno Allen was among the many who attended this ceremony to say goodbye to Ryan Almeter.
“Wonderful to see the community come together tonight at the park with Ryan's wife and children to release the lanterns and light a candle,” she said. “So tragic, yet heartwarming to see so many students there that cherished this man. God bless to his wife and kids.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Almeter’s family at https://www.gofundme.com/sarahalmeter . Within the first day the site reached $8,000. Ryan lost his life leaving behind his loving family, wife Sarah and three beautiful children Noah, Maggie and Sophia.
Genesee County Express Facebook page has been filled with an outpouring of love for Almeter and his family.