Red River Balloon Rally organizers make memorial scholarship donation

LSU Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Robert Smith, left, accepts a scholarship donation check from North Louisiana Balloon Association member Angie Gullo.

A generous gift from Red River Balloon Rally organizers Susan and Pat Harwell will support a scholarship that honors the memory of a balloon pilot who was killed in a crash in 2005.

LSU Shreveport Chancellor Dr. Robert Smith accepted the donation on behalf of the university and the LSUS Foundation. The gift provides continued funding for the Bill Harwell Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to LSUS students pursuing a degree in math or science.

“I am very thankful to everyone for this gift,” Dr. Smith said. “I wish I had had the opportunity to know Bill.”

Along with his brothers Pat and Paul Harwell, Bill piloted balloons at rallies and races around the country. Their extended family and a network of close friends have helped make the Red River Balloon Rally a reality for more than 30 years. The rally attracts balloon pilots from all over the United States who vie for a championship trophy. Hundreds of people visit the associated festival each year.

“Bill, as everyone knows, was a wonderful hot air balloon pilot,” said Angie Gullo, who has been a part of the North Louisiana Balloon Association since 1995. “He had an enduring passion for this sport. We were all like one family. We hope this scholarship today blesses the recipients.”