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Glenwood teen killed in Thursday crash recalled as ‘beloved’ student

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By Joel Stevens, Associate Editor

Tanner Porter had the smile to match the twinkle in his eyes.

“Tanner was a very kind, kind young man,” said Glenwood Community High School guidance counselor Kathleen Loeffelbein. “He had a beautiful smile and this twinkle in his eye. He made other people’s day brighter. He was a beloved student. He knew a lot of people and touched so many people with his kindness.”

Porter, 17, died Thursday at the University of Nebraska Medical Center following injuries he suffered in a one-vehicle accident north of Glenwood.

Porter was southbound on 221st Street at approximately 8:15 p.m. Thursday evening when he lost control of his 1997 Dodge pick-up, causing it to roll several times and strike a utility pole.
Porter was flown by helicopter to U.N.M.C in Omaha Med Center where he later died from his injuries.

Glenwood students held a candlelight vigil for the sophomore Sunday night. More than 400 attended the event at the Glenwood Football Field.

“It was all student driven,” Loeffelbein said of the vigil that concluded with a lap around the track. “They organized the whole thing and they did a very, very nice job. It seemed like a very meaningful evening for the family and his friends and anyone who was there.”

The Area Education Agency’s Crisis Response Team was at the school Friday to assist students and faculty.

“A lot of our students are hurting right now,” Loeffelbein said. “Mostly what I’m trying to do is listen. It’s letting them know the way they are feeling is normal and okay and it’s all a part of caring about someone else.”

Loeffelbein hopes something good can come from such a terrible tragedy.

“The most comforting thing we’ve seen are students – students comforting each other, students being comforted by teachers. They feel comfortable enough to talk about it with each other. If there’s something good to see coming out of this, it’s that.”

After a service at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, Porter was laid to rest Tuesday at Glenwood Cemetery.