Church family holds balloon release to honor life of boy killed in High Falls accident

Balloon release for Christian Burdette at High Falls Baptist Church / Matt Mackie (WGXA)

JACKSON, Ga. -- Friends and family of 12-year-old Christian Burdette gathered at High Falls Baptist Church on Wednesday for a balloon release in his honor.

The church is less than a mile away from High Falls State Park, where Christian and his brother James Burdette were swept over a waterfall on Tuesday. James, 17, was rescued, but Christian did not survive.

The Burdette family attends High Falls Baptist and the congregation planned the tribute to Christian.

Those at the balloon release wore orange, Christian's favorite color.

"We just want today to be about him and the memory of Christian and what he meant to us," said family friend Melissa Reynolds, who helped plan the event.

She said that Christian was a boy who lived every day to the fullest.

"Christian hit the ground running every day of his life," she said. "There was never a dull moment."

Reynolds said that's why they chose to honor him with a balloon release. She said the balloons will "just keep flying," much like Christian.

High Falls Baptist Pastor Glen McCall spoke to the crowd about Christian's love for life and his strong faith in God. He said Christian, who was recently baptized, was an active member in his church and Awana program.

McCall then led the group in prayer. As the song "I Can Only Imagine" played, they released orange balloons into the air.

Community members also created a small memorial at the state park Wednesday.

There is a GoFundMe account set up to help pay for Christian's funeral expenses.

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