Balloon Release Held before Carbondale Area’s Homecoming Game for Teen Killed in Crash

CARBONDALE, Pa. -- A high school community in Lackawanna County honored a former student who died in a crash one week ago.

A balloon release was held before Carbondale Area's homecoming football game for 18-year-old Joe Maddage who just graduated this past spring.

Roughly 400 hundred balloons were released into the air at Carbondale Area`s football field to remember a former student killed in a crash.

This was to honor 18-year-old Joe Maddage who died last Friday after his car collided with another vehicle then hit a utility pole in Scott Township.

Maddage had just graduated from Carbondale Area High School where he played for the football team.

“It's tough, you know, losing someone like that, especially in that way, especially on a day after a game, it was really unexpected,” said senior Marino DePalma “We’re just going to play for him tonight.”

“I was actually pretty close with Joe,” said senior Zach Racht. “It was pretty tough at first, just coming home from a game and just hearing that and I had no clue it was him. It kind of didn't set in for a few days, you know?”

Maddage's relatives arranged for the balloon release so his school community to pay tribute to the young man.

But this is also to help the family cost funeral costs; a balloon could be purchased for two dollars.

“Because we know the struggles that they were going through, so right now our comfort to them is trying to make sure we`re there for them. Raising the money that we can so that way they can pay for what they need to,” said cousin Amanda Brister.

This tribute to Maddage comes on the same day he was laid to rest. The district let the football team leave school so they could attend his funeral.

“It was nice. They let us out early, we got to leave school to go to say our final goodbyes. I respect the school for that,” said DePalma.

“It was nice to just see everyone there, coming together for him because that`s what he'd want,” said Racht.

“Just coming together as a community because he had all his friends there. the football team was there, everybody else was there and we were all just there for them,” said Brister. “That's what it was all about"

Relatives say they are planning to hold a bake sale fundraiser for Maddage's family at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon across the street from Carbondale City Hall.


  • burtfan16

    It is a nice gesture but when these balloons land on the ground they become a choking hazard to the animals. How about a short fireworks show instead.

  • ozzycoop

    Balloon releases should be banned. Find some other way to raise money and remember the deceased young man. If I throw a cheeseburger wrapper out of the car window it is a $300 minimum fine. How is this not considered mass littering.

    • Brian Coates

      If you’re that concerned about environment impact, at intersection of the exit ramp of route 309 and Kidder Street in Wilkes-Barre there are hundreds of cigarette butts you can go clean up. And you know what, I’ve never, ever seen a cop pulling people over for throwing their butts out at that spot even though I’m going through that intersection multiple times a day. And no, I’m not a smoker.

      • Lisa Wiktor

        Don’t ask me why smokers don’t think throwing their butts on the ground is not littering! Cigarette butts make up the majority of the trash in the ocean. I agree with Ozzycoop it should be considered mass littering.

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