- The Washington Times - Monday, June 1, 2015

A Texas police officer is being widely praised after he attended the graduation ceremony of a high school boy whose parents were killed by an alleged drunk driver less than a week earlier.

Lt. Eric Ellison said one of the hardest things he’s ever had to do was to tell 18-year-old Kazzie Portie that both his parents, Riley and Emily Portie, of Orange County, had been killed in a car accident on May 24, a local ABC affiliate reported.

The driver of the other vehicle, Travis Collins, 29, is facing two charges of intoxication manslaughter.

Lt. Ellison said he attended Kazzie’s graduation from Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School as a show of support during the difficult time.

“I walked up on the stage he looked at me and I looked at him and we both cried and that’s OK,” the officer told ABC. “I told him ‘you’re going to walk and your folks are going to have a front row seat and I’m going to be there.’”

Lt. Ellison described the powerful moment when the teen walked across the stage and the two hugged — a scene captured in photos and videos that quickly went viral on social media.

“If you didn’t have a wet eye you needed to check your pulse. The Montagne Center was the loudest I ever heard it,” Lt. Ellison said. “The class of 2015, 245 seniors and their families, on their feet and everyone right behind him.”

Kazzie told BuzzFeed that his parents had recently told him how proud they were of him.

“Seeing Officer Ellison there to congratulate me meant the world to me,” he added. “It was so nice to see that he actually showed a genuine care for me and my family’s situation instead of us just being another ‘case.’”

Lt. Ellison said the teen is sticking with his plans to go to college.

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