A week after delivering the tragic news, Lt. Eric Ellison walked onstage to congratulate Kazzie Portie at his graduation

By Drew Mackie
June 02, 2015 01:10 AM

Telling someone that their loved one has died has to be one of the toughest parts about being a police officer. And for one Texas cop, that tragic day formed a bond with a teenager just embarking on life.

Orange, Texas, residents Riley and Emily Portie died on May 24 when an alleged drunk driver crashed his truck into their motorcycle. Police officer Lt. Eric Ellison broke the news to the couple’s youngest son, Kazzie Portie, 18, who according to Buzzfeed was at home alone when he received the news.

When Kazzie explained that he was graduating high school that week, Ellison encouraged the teen to participate all the same. “I said, ‘You are going to walk!’ ” Ellison recalled to BuzzFeed. “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.”

And that’s exactly what happened this weekend at the Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School graduation this weekend, when Ellison congratulated Portie onstage with a hug. The photo of the hug has since gone viral.

“I walked up on the stage he looked at me, and I looked at him, and we both cried, and that’s okay,” Ellison said in an interview with Texas’ 12 News. “If you didn’t have a wet eye you needed to check your pulse.”

Ellison told 12 News that Portie plans to move forward with his plans to attend college.