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Monday, September 17th, 2007
By Shelley Grieshop
St. Henry teenager dies in accident involving overturned all-terrain vehicle
A 15-year-old St. Henry boy was killed when the four-wheeler he was riding overturned on top of him in a creek bed along state Route 119 on Sunday afternoon.
Brandon Marcus Huelskamp, a freshman at St. Henry High School, was pronounced dead at the scene by Mercer County Coroner Dr. Tim Heinrichs shortly after 2 p.m.
Brandon is survived by his parents, Roger and Deb Huelskamp, as well as two brothers and two sisters.
According to a report from the Mercer County Sheriff's Office, Huelskamp was traveling west across a field and attempting to cross a creek just west of Fleetfoot Road when his ATV flipped and trapped him beneath it. A passerby reportedly saw the vehicle in the creek and notified Mercer County Central Dispatch at 2:01 p.m.
The boy's mother said her son was alone and on his way to meet several friends to go paintballing when the accident occurred.
Brandon was a hands-on child and loved everything about the outdoors, his family said.
"He talked about becoming a game warden," said his mother.
Calling him a "little handyman," his mother said the youngster could fix just about anything he set his mind to.
Brandon, the second-youngest in his family, was a member of the St. Henry Boy Scouts and Catholic Youth Organization, the school's FFA program and the Major League Bowling team in Coldwater.
Most of the school's 79 freshman gathered together Sunday to console one another and discuss how to best honor their friend's memory. A majority of the students wore camouflage clothing of all types to class today to commemorate Brandon's love of hunting and the outdoors.
Posters and other memorabilia also were placed on Brandon's locker and around the school today in tribute to the young man, high school Principal Frank Griesdorn told The Daily Standard.
High school and middle school teachers were notified Sunday about the tragedy and given advice on how to inform their students this morning, Griesdorn said. Administrators advised staff members to let students discuss the accident and the loss of their classmate - whatever it takes to help them through the grieving process, he added.
"There probably won't be a lot of education done but it will help the kids with bereavement," he said.
Along with its own staff, the school solicited help today from Marion Local Schools' guidance counselor, local priests, bereavement experts and youth leaders, for any students who need them, Griesdorn explained.
A prayer service is slated for this evening at 7:30 p.m. at Brandon's home parish of St. Francis in Cranberry Prairie.
Griesdorn said Brandon was well-liked at the school and will be greatly missed.
"I believe there will be a lot of tears from both teachers and students throughout the day," he said.
Brandon's obituary appears in today's issue.
Another Mercer County teen - a relative of Brandon - was killed in an eerily similar accident involving an ATV nearly one year ago. Fort Recovery eighth-grader Damon Klenke, 13, was killed Sept. 26 when the ATV he was operating overturned on top of him in a creek in Darke County, not far from his home.
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