PRESTONSBURG — A decade may seem like a long time, but after a major tragedy, the events of a decade ago can seem like just yesterday. On Saturday, exactly 10 years after a car accident claimed the lives of a mother and her three sons, family and friends gathered at Jenny Wiley State Resort Park to share stories and release balloons as a tribute to their memory.
Roadside memorials on the southbound side of U.S. 23 mark the place where Thelma Leigh Guess, 32, and her sons, David, Billy, and Jimmy, ages 13, 11, and 9, had their lives tragically cut short on May 10, 2004.
On Saturday, exactly 10 years after, dozens of friends and family gathered for a cookout and memorial service. The balloon release was more than just a symbolic gesture that the Guess family was still missed. Mourners tied messages of love and remembrance to the balloons before releasing them into the skies.
Guess’s cousin and best friend Amy Cole was also quick to laud her as a mother. “She would go to all the kids’ baseball games, she would go out in the yard and play with them… she loved them with all of her heart. Those children were her life.”
The weather forecast did nothing to hamper the day’s events; if anything, the rain only magnified the poignancy of the experience. “The weather was horrible, but we had [the event] anyway,” said Cole. “Ten years ago on that day, it was pouring rain. And then, at the memorial—and we had it about the time that she wrecked—it was pouring the rain like that again. So I know she’s still with us.”