Teen inherits piece of his dad

  • Published
  • By Heather Osbourne
  • nwfdailynews.com

Anthony Balmer knows how to change his own oil and still loves to listen to music from the '80s.

Anthony, who turns 18 on July 14, learned his skills and love for music from his father when he was 7.

"I can remember climbing under the car and not knowing what the heck my dad was doing," Anthony said. "Then one day he just started teaching me how to change the oil."

What Anthony remembers most about moments with his father, he said, were ride-alongs in his dad's beloved 2003 Land Rover Discovery. But those ride-alongs ended 10 years ago, just before his father was killed in Iraq.

"The last memory we have of us as a family is riding with my late husband to the airport in that Land Rover," said Danielle Balmer Sweet, Anthony's mother. "After my late husband died, I didn't know what to do with his car."

Air Force Office of Special Investigations Special Agent Ryan A. Balmer was killed by a roadside bomb on June 5, 2007. He was one week away from returning home to his family, including his adopted newborn daughter, Gabby.

It was weeks later that Sweet decided to put the Land Rover in storage and give it to her then 7-year-old son on his 18th birthday. It arrived July 13 from Montana, where her family lives.

"I've kept the car in storage all this time ... so he can finally have it," Sweet said.

Anthony said getting the car is a moment he's been waiting for since his father's death.

"I'm sure it'll be emotional for me to drive around for the first couple of weeks," Anthony said. "But I'm just happy it gets to stay in the family and that I get to inherit it."

"I love that he is able to have a piece of his dad," Sweet added.

Anthony, who will soon begin his senior year at Navarre High School, said he hopes to follow in his father's footsteps and become a special agent in the Air Force.

"It's my hope that I'll make it there," Anthony said. "It's another way for me to carry on and honor his memory."