November 22, 2014

Friends pay tribute to GEHS student killed in accident

Corbin H. Crable
chcrable@gardnernews.com

To his friends, Andrew Hurd will always be known as a fun-loving, compassionate, athletic student active in his school and community – someone who served as an inspiration to others, who enjoyed life and all it had to offer.

That life was cut short, however, when Hurd died in a vehicle accident on Monday evening. Funeral arrangements are pending with Bruce Funeral Home.

Andrew Hurd

The students, faculty and staff of Gardner Edgerton High School, where 16-year-old Hurd was starting his junior year, were quick to come together Tuesday as a prayer service was held. Counselors from GEHS and surrounding schools were on hand to talk to grieving friends. And within mere hours of Monday’s accident, Hurd’s own Facebook page lit up with remembrances and goodbyes. A separate tribute page to Hurd had garnered more than 1,000 followers by Wednesday morning.

In cyberspace, friends and family members recalled Hurd as a star soccer player, active in his community church and a loyal friend to all he met.
Adults and teenagers alike praised Hurd’s character on the Facebook tribute page.

“Andrew was one of the most incredible teenagers I’ve ever met,” one message read. “We will miss him at Life Group, where he was always such fun and a great example for the younger kids — and for us adults, too. His strong faith in Jesus was evident in all that he did and said and was.”

“Thanks for being kind,” another message read. “So many (people) are in pain in this city just thinking about what happened.”

Yet another poster on the tribute page summarized what so many others struggled to put into words: “A shining star has been diminished.”
Nicole Smith, who graduated from GEHS last spring, said her best memory of Hurd was on the soccer field.

“The best memory I can think of about Andrew is watching him play soccer,” Smith said. “He was more passionate about it than any single person I know. When his team did something right, his face would light up because he was so proud. It was truly beautiful to see.”

A photo from Andrew Hurd’s Facebook page shows Hurd proudly wearing GEHS Trailblazer blue. A visitation service will take place Friday night for friends and family to remember the 16-year-old. Photo courtesy of Facebook

GEHS alumna Lynsie Keaton, who graduated in 2007, said she considered Andrew to be a member of her family.

“Andrew is an angel. There is no better way to put it,” Keaton said. “He served God to his fullest here on Earth. He was the boy you wanted all your kids to be friends with (because) he was such a good influence. He made such an impact and was such a great role model to everyone here on Earth, older or younger – it didn’t matter. He was caring and passionate about everything he did.”

GEHS Soccer Coach Andy Weber said members of the school’s soccer team are still in shock over the loss of a friend and a leader.

“He was definitely a leader for our younger boys. The younger ones looked up to him,” Weber said. “We’re sad and we miss him, but (the soccer players) are taking this as a rally call to live out (Hurd’s) legacy.”
Weber said the one personality trait in Hurd that stuck out to him was the youth’s maturity.

“He had more maturity at age 16 than I did in my 20s,” Weber said. “He was such a mature kid, and it is very rare for a 16-year-old to be both humble and wise.”

Weber said that to honor Hurd, the soccer team will make a banner to set on the team’s bench at every game. It will also produce and sell decals honoring Hurd’s memory.

USD 231 Community Relations Coordinator Leann Northway said that besides the prayer service earlier in the week, she was unsure of any other services or vigils being planned by students or faculty.

“I assume the high school is having their own staff take care of it,” she said.
GEHS administrators did not immediately return calls to The Gardner News seeking more information.

Bruce Funeral Home in Gardner is in charge of funeral arrangements. Hurd’s obituary appears on page 6 of today’s newspaper.

Visitation services will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27 at Fellowship Bible Church, 16900 S. Waverly Road in Gardner. A celebration of Hurd’s life will take place the following morning, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at New Life Community Church, 17935 S. Moonlight Road in Gardner.

Until this weekend, Hurd’s friends and family continue to write remembrances and well-wishes to Hurd and his family. And those who share his faith take comfort in one thing.

“I know where Andrew is,” one Facebook message read. “The same moment we are gone from this Earth, we are in the arms of Jesus.”

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