The Texas police officer who told a teenager his parents had been killed by a drunk driver attended the young man’s high school graduation on Saturday.
Officer Eric Ellison had been one of the first authorities to arrive at the scene when Kazzie Portie’s mother and step-father were killed by a drunk driver. Riley and Emily Portie were killed on May 24 in Orange, Texas, the Huffington Post reports.
Kazzie, the couple’s youngest son, was home alone when Ellison relayed the news. When Kazzie revealed that his graduation was just days away, Ellison decided to attend.
“I said, ‘You are going to walk!’” Ellison told Buzzfeed. “Your mom and dad will have front row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place.”
After breaking the tragic news, Ellison felt that it was his duty to attend Kazzie’s graduation. Ellison appeared on stage at the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School stadium and awaited Kazzie in uniform. The two shared an embrace on stage and Kazzie received a 40-second standing ovation as he received his diploma.
According to Blake Henning, Kazzie’s brother, there wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium.
“Not only was [Ellison] the one to inform our family of this tragedy, he was on the scene and stayed with my parents until the paramedics arrived,” Henning told the Daily Mail Online in praise of Ellison. “He was genuinely torn up about the entire accident.”
Kazzie and Ellison have reportedly been in contact since graduation, according to Henning.
In a Facebook post, Ellison noted that he was merely doing what he would want someone else to do if he left his own daughters too soon. He added that Saturday was Kazzie’s day to shine.
Photo Credit: BuzzFeed