Float honoring Crystal Rogers revealed to Ballard family ahead of Bardstown Christmas Parade
Tommy Ballard had planned to start building the float for his missing daughter the day he was shot and killed.
BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Bardstown community came together to carry on a father's mission to find his missing daughter after his life was cut short by building a float in honor of Crystal Rogers for the Bardstown Christmas Parade.
The night before the parade, friends added last minute details to the float. Pink tulle was wrapped around the base and every decorative angel was given a candle.
Tommy Ballard's dream was to have a float in the parade to keep Crystal's story in the spotlight after she disappeared in July of 2015.
"His last day, the day that it all happened... that was the day he was going to start working on it," said Mary Taylor, a friend of the Ballard family.
But after Tommy was mysteriously shot and killed while hunting on family property, close friends took it upon themselves to carry out his vision -- pink and white angel wings entering the Ballard home.
"It was totally done out of love. We just wanted to make his vision happen. We wanted to keep it as close to what he wanted as possible," Taylor said.
In a private reveal to the family the night before the parade, the Ballards saw Tommy's dream come to life.
"It was emotional to see. I know it's painful for them too. It's also rewarding I guess, to see his wishes were carried out," Taylor said.
Those close with the Ballards say the float has become something more. It's also a symbol of carrying on Tommy's mission to find Crystal.
"You know just the initial shock of what's happened to Tommy... a lot people are still in disbelief at this point," said family friend Kenny Harrell. "This takes everything to a new level."
Harrell was a childhood friend of Tommy's and as adults became neighbors. Now he and dozens more are continuing his walk.
"I'm very proud to carry that banner for Tommy," he said.
"That was his vision, to keep his daughter's name alive. To make sure nobody quit. To continue that walk for him, that's our goal to keep on searching until they find her," Taylor said.
Consequently, that walk has now turned into seeking justice for both a father and his daughter.
Friends are asking the community to show their support for the Ballards at the parade.
The parade is at 6 p.m. Thursday in Bardstown.
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