Sudden loss shocks locals

Elkins High School students were met this morning by counselors and support services to help them cope with the loss of classmate Brianna Keefer. Brianna, a 14-year-old freshman at Elkins High School, died Friday at her home.

“The administrative staff and guidance counselors met Sunday at Elkins High,” said Interim Superintendent of Randolph County Schools Terry George. “Principal Dave Fincham began with a moment of silence in memory of Brianna, and students who knew Brianna had folks there to talk with, helping them deal with the grief of losing a friend and classmate.”

George said the incident is a great tragedy, noting the school system lost two students during the past year. Dustin “Dusty” White died Oct. 26 following an altercation with another student outside Bulldog Field prior to the TVHS and Hundred football matchup.

“It is an unfortunate situation to lose a student that is so young,” George said. “It will be hard to help students understand why Brianna made this decision. You search for answers, but they are not to be found anywhere. I am normally not at a loss for words, but this is too hard to fathom. This will be hard for her friends and a very difficult day for everyone.”

George said there have been no reports or incidents that would indicate she was harassed or bullied.

Brianna’s friend, 18-year old Kaleigh Figueroa, said they were very close.

“We went to school twice together, once for two years at a Christian school, and then for about a year at a different Christian school,” Figueroa said. “Brianna was such a people person who liked to make people laugh. She was quite a jokester.”

Figueroa said Brianna’s death was a shock.

“This came out of nowhere,” Figueroa said. “She showed no signs of sadness and never shed a tear. The only time I ever saw her upset was when she ran away for a short period of time in January 2012. Other than that, she was always happy and laughing.”

Figueroa said Brianna loved fashion.

“She liked to have the coolest stuff and then liked when others noticed her clothes. She would always tell me she liked to text or call her friends. And when she saw her friends, she would always run up to them and make them smile and laugh. She was always happy and bubbly.”

So far, two fundraisers are being planned to help the Keefers with funeral expenses. At 6 p.m. Friday, the Tygart Valley Ministries, located at 33 Main St. in Beverly, is sponsoring a cakewalk and event to help with expenses. Pastor Curlie Ray said Brianna attended the Tygart Valley Ministries and Christian Academy school for part of a year.

“Brianna was a good little girl,” Ray said. “Her death has broken our hearts. She and her family are good people and it’s a tragedy. I have known her mother Rosie since we were in school.”

A Facebook page titled “Benefit for the Keefers” states the Rivers of Living Water Ministry, located at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Main Street, is sponsoring a benefit from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 27.

“The benefit is to help the Keefers with the funeral costs for the recent loss of a beautiful daughter, sister, aunt and friend,” the page states.

The event will feature a Rock Worship Contemporary Concert with songs by Jesse Wanless and David Troastle, and also include drama, refreshments for sale and a cake walk.