High School Team Hugs Mom of Deceased Teammate

High School Team Hugs Mom of Deceased Teammate


Ely Dehart died in 2020 after losing control of his vehicle on a gravel road. He was only 14 years old. He played basketball, football and baseball. When he was alive, he was a hugger, always spreading his joy with others. After his death, his parents donated many of his organs to other needy people who were waiting for such organs.

Nathan and Jennifer Dehart, the parents of Ely, desperately miss their son. His former teammates also desperately miss their friend. So, after the players are introduced at the basketball games, each player makes a bee-line to Mrs. Dehart to embrace her with a hug. They do this before every game. “That truly means a lot to me,” Jennifer said with tears in her eyes. “It’s like my child is hugging me through them every time they hug me.”

Joe’s Perspective: As a father of 4 daughters, I don’t ever want to know how it feels to lose a child. It is my biggest fear in this world. The sorrow and the loss must be completely overwhelming.  However, in the middle of all this pain and sadness, these boys delivered love and support in the darkest hour for these parents. It would have been so easy for these parents to keep to themselves and never go to another game. It would have been so easy for these high school boys to go about their business. However, both are so much better off due to these moments of bonding. These moments of kindness are leading to something called healing.

Your Turn: What lessons do we learn from this story that we can apply to our lives?

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