A celebration for Kody

The crowd releases an assortment of balloons into the air to celebrate Kody on his birthday. Kurt and Tamyra Roettjer share a tight embrace after the balloons are released. Tamyra and Kurt hold hands while wearing their “ShineKodyShine” bracelets. These silver “KODY” balloons were hard to miss. The balloons silently drift skyward, eventually 
disappearing out of sight. This was a common sight at the gathering: people pulled close, taking in the moment. Kortney Roettjer lightly holds a dove that she later released to memorialize her brother. Numerous people at the park were wearing these shirts with Kody’s face on them and the words “We love you, Kody.”
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Numerous people at the park were wearing these shirts with Kody’s face on them and the words “We love you, Kody.”

The sky above North Branch’s Central Park might have been overcast May 9, but for a moment it was filled with vibrant specs of blue.
That blue — with an interspersing of white and silver — came in the form of dozens of balloons, all lifting toward the heavens to celebrate the life of Kody Roettjer, who died in October of last year as the result of an ATV accident.
Kody’s mother, Tamyra Roettjer, who noted blue was her son’s favorite color, said the balloon release coincided with Kody’s birthday. He would have been 15 years old this year.
“To be honest, we thought me, Kurt (her husband) and Kortney (their daughter) would meet here at 6:30 p.m., and all I put was, ‘Anybody who wants to join us is welcome,’” she said. “I thought, ‘All right, I’ll create my event on Facebook and send it out, and one of my friends said, ‘Hey, what do you need us to do?’”
Tamyra said their friends and church took it from there.
“They were like, ‘We’re bringing food; we’re bringing the helium tank,”’ she said. “We pulled up to the park, and they were already starting this whole thing.”
Dozens of people packed the park, with their cars taking up all the parking spaces surrounding it. Most of the Peterson’s Mill parking lot was also full with the vehicles of those who had come to remember Kody.
The Roettjers were overwhelmed with the outpouring of support, and after people had eaten food and birthday cake, the balloons had been released and a trio of doves had been sent skyward, Kurt and Tamyra shared an embrace and a few tears.

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