Family and colleagues mark anniversary of death in emotional ceremony
Balloons inscribed with special messages from colleagues
It was a simple gesture of human kindness which, after three harrowing weeks of murder trial evidence, brought smiles and tears alike to the faces of the assembled members of the Corbett family.
To mark the second anniversary of Jason Corbett's death, his former workmates at the Multi Packing Solutions (MPS) plant on Lexington Parkway in Lexington, North Carolina, staged a balloon release.
In a moving nod to the father-of-two's homeland, the balloons were in the colours of the Irish flag.
Some were inscribed with special messages from people who remembered and missed their boss. "We miss you Jason," one note read.
The Corbett family laid a wreath and the Irish colours on a stone plaque by a tree planted in Jason's memory last year close to the plant entrance. The plaque was dedicated by MPS to "a great leader and friend" and inscribed with Jason's name.
After enduring three weeks of at-times horrific murder trial evidence with quiet dignity and calm courage, yesterday proved too much for many members of the Corbett family.
Several wept openly as Jason's colleagues and friends released the balloons and spoke of how much they missed the genial Irishman.
Jason's sisters, Tracey and Marilyn, hugged MPS colleagues who knew their brother and fondly recalled memories of him.
The ceremony yesterday was organised by MPS official Melanie Crook and was aimed at supporting the family of their former colleague. Just after noon, in the blazing heat, the green, white and orange balloons were released. Jason's sisters, brother Wayne and brother-in-law David, as well as extended family members and friends, watched in silence as the balloons vanished into the distance.
Earlier, the family had attended a Mass for private prayers in memory of their brother and friend.
There was no evidence heard yesterday in the second-degree murder trial of Jason's second wife, Molly Martens-Corbett (33), and his father-in-law, retired FBI agent Thomas Michael Martens (67). Both deny his murder on August 2, 2015.
Jason had worked for MPS in Ireland but decided to take up the opportunity to transfer to the firm's North Carolina plant because his second wife, a native of Tennessee, hadn't settled in Ireland and was homesick.
Tragically, his relocation would last just four years.
But two years after his death, the young Janesboro man is still fondly remembered by colleagues in a plant which had been central to his plans to build a new life.