A Texas police officer stood with a teen at his graduation, one week after both parents were tragically killed.
Last week Orange, Texas police officer Eric Ellison faced what he called “one of the most difficult moments of my 21-year career.” Ellison had the tough job of informing 18-year-old Kazzie Portie that his parents, Riley and Emily Portie, were killed by a drunk driver.
Kazzie, the youngest of Riley and Emily Portie’s five children, was home alone when Ellison knocked on his door to inform him of his parents’ deaths. The grief-stricken high school senior confided in Ellison that his graduation from Little Cypress–Mauriceville High School was only days away. The tragedy struck a cord with Ellison, whose own 18-year-old daughter would soon graduate.
In an interview with Buzzfeed News, Ellison says he told Portie, “You are going to walk! Your mom and dad will have front row seats looking down from heaven, and I’ll stand in their place. I’ve got your back.”
Ellison had been one of the first responders at the scene of the accident on May 24 when a 29-year-old suspected drunk driver drove his truck into the couple’s motorcycle. Kazzie’s brother, Blake Henning, told the Daily Mail that Ellison was a “Genuine guy,” and stated, “Not only was he the one to inform our family of this tragedy, he was on the scene and stayed with my parents until the paramedics arrived.”
At Kazzie’s graduation officer Ellison stood at the end of the stage in uniform as his name was called, and hugged the teen after he walked across the stage to receive his diploma. The stadium erupted into applause and gave them a 40-second standing ovation during which, according to Henning, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the stadium.”