Texas teen runs to the arms of a police officer as school cheers

By Faye Higbee

Riley and Emily Portie of Orange County, Texas, died on May 24 when a drunk driver smashed into their motorcycle. The driver, Travis Collins, 29, faces two counts of “Intoxication Manslaughter.” The Portie family is a big one…they had five children. Lt. Eric Ellison of the Orange police department had to be the one to notify the family that their parents were gone. Death notifications are among the most difficult for any police officer or military one.


The Portie family – kids and grandkids – Facebook photo- Emily Portie

When he arrived at the home, the only one of the kids there was the youngest -“Kazzie” the 18 year old. Visibly upset, he told the officer he didn’t know what to do because he was supposed to graduate from  Little Cypress–Mauriceville High School  in the coming week.

Lt. Ellison has an 18 year old daughter. She was due to graduate that week as well. Kazzie’s broken heart touched the soul of the veteran police officer, and he responded,

“I said, ‘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.’” Lt Eric Ellison

On Saturday, May 30, Ellison showed up at the graduation ceremony to support Kazzie.

“I walked up on the stage he looked at me and I looked at him and we both cried and that’s OK.”

In that emotional moment, the teen accepted his diploma and walked across the stage to embrace the veteran police office as the auditorium erupted in cheers.

 Texas teen

Kazzie embraces Lt Ellison – Facebook photo via Eric Ellison

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


Kazzie and Ellison on graduation day – photo via Eric Ellison

The Lt. says that Kazzie will likely pursue his college degree in spite of what happened. What that officer did was a sign of a good heart- in this day and age where people openly heap hate on police officers, this one exhibited class and kindness to a family in need.

“The life struggles you see out here, it was rough on the kid, on the family…Sometimes life is not fair but you have to go on and I think Kazz is going to do that.” Lt Ellison