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WDAY: The News Leader

Published October 17, 2012, 09:44 PM

Gone but not forgotten, friends celebrate Frazee teen’s 18th

Frazee, MN (WDAY TV) - It had the markings of a birthday party. Balloons were everywhere. But one thing was missing - the guest of honor.

Frazee, MN (WDAY TV) - It had the markings of a birthday party. Balloons were everywhere. But one thing was missing - the guest of honor.

Students and parents got together for an emotional memorial for a Frazee teen killed in a car accident last year. He would've celebrated his 18th birthday this weekend.

From the instant we got to the balloon release, it was easy to see how much Myrel Schermerhorn is loved by his friends, and family, even the surrounding communities.

Loved ones grabbed a balloon and a marker, remembering the teen who friends call "one of the nicest guys you've ever met."

It was on tiny yellow cards where students scribbled heartfelt messages to Myrel Schermerhorn.

Tyler Ziegler, Myrel’s Friend: "Inside jokes between me and Myrel, and Happy Birthday wishes."

Bruce Lemon, Myrel’s Friend: "Like Tyler said inside jokes, Happy Birthday, everybody is missing him."

The 17-year-old wrestling standout died last December, after a November car accident left him submerged in a pond for 20 minutes.

Nearly one year later, there's a very apparent void in the Frazee senior class.

Ziegler: "There is days where it is not on my mind that much, then days where it bugs you all day."

Sheila Ziegler, Organized Balloon Release: "Being a small community, we feel the pain. It's magnified."

Bright balloons in every hand - students gathered their thoughts, preparing to say goodbye to Myrel yet again, with this symbolic gesture.

Diane Ladwig, Organized Balloon Release: "It brings closure, a lot of kids are still struggling with that."

Sheila Ziegler: "A way to acknowledge his life, his birthday, and remember the fun times we had."

And just as it started to rain. Students let their balloons soar. Some slowly rising. But many got instantly tangled up in trees, giving some students a much-needed chance to smile.

And Myrel is kept close in the student's memories, every day. They're wearing black bracelets with his name, and shirts saying "Pray for Myrel."

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