Teen Memoriam Stories

Hunter Kelson

My message would be to never assume that the other driver sees you. Never assume anything.

Hunter was our miracle baby, in a hurry to get to this world. Weighing 2 lbs and 15 ounces, he was born 3 months early. He surprised us all and was our little fighter. By the time he was three months old, he had caught up to all the other kids his age and since then, he was always on the go.

Hunter danced for Hillcrest High School and was looking forward to trying out for the dance company the week of the crash. We had just finished his modeling portfolio so he could start with Stars Agency in Sandy. He loved dance, shopping, and modeling, but at the same time, he would go hunting with his dad, stepdad, and grandpa. He actually got the “once in a lifetime” bull tag the year before he passed away. He definitely got a trophy that year.

He was so compassionate. He did everything with his siblings and loved to torment them. Hunter was like the rock of the family. He loved his family and friends. He’d do anything for them and he had a special bond with each of his siblings in different ways. Every one of the kids had a part of them taken away when Hunter passed. He loved his Grandma Jaymie and his grandpa whom he affectionately called “Poppy,” much to grandpa’s dislike. He was secretly amazing. He had acted in a student film on suicide prevention and would do anything for anyone. I had no idea how much he impacted people until I saw the line standing outside the door for his funeral. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Getting his driver license was the coolest thing in the entire world for Hunter. We looked for four months for a car because he was so picky. I remember when we found his tan colored Plymouth Neon, he was like “Oh yeah!” He had saved his money for two years to buy the perfect car and he absolutely loved it.

On May 20th, the whole family was packing for a camping trip. I remember he was wearing a red shirt, black joggers, and Jesus sandals, which is odd because he never wore anything but Levis. After school, he came home to pack his bag and, while waiting for his sister, we talked about dance tryouts and how nervous he was. I assured him how amazing he was and that I just knew he would make it. I reminded him to turn in all of his assignments before we left for the trip.

After his sister finished, I walked the two of them to the car since they were headed to their dad’s house for the night. Later that night, I reminded him via text again to make sure all of his assignments were ready. I never received a text back. Five minutes later, we heard a knock on our door. I’ll never forget that knock.

The cops told us that Hunter had been in a car crash and had passed away, along with another girl, named Cheyenne Bagley. I remember calling his dad and asking him to come over and bring our daughter, Hailey. We called his grandparents. The kids were in shock. I can still hear my son, Elijah, scream, “That was my best friend!” It was horrible to watch and horrible to listen to. I remember my daughter, Hailey, falling into her uncle’s arms and sobbing. I remember sitting there shaking in shock and looking at my kids, feeling so helpless.

They were only going to get an ice cream and coming right back.

My message would be to never assume that the other driver sees you. Never assume anything. Hunter didn’t do anything that the rest of us don’t do on a daily basis. He stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways to make a left hand turn. We will never know if he saw the Jeep coming or not.

We want to keep Hunter’s memory alive. And keep his kind actions going. So now we do the #hunterchallenge. Anytime you do anything Hunter would have liked to do, you hashtag it. Sushi, shopping, spending time with family; do something you normally wouldn’t do. Go out of your way to help someone. Make a difference in a life. That is what Hunter would have done.

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