14-year-old remembered for kindness

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(ABC 6 News) – One week ago, a 14-year-old boy was severely injured when he was buried in sand in rural Kellogg.

Despite a desperate effort to save him, Hunter Flaxbeard died days later.

14-year-old Hunter Flaxbeard and his family drove 30 minutes every day so he could go to school at St. John’s Lutheran Church, because they believed the drive for their faith, was worth it.

RELATED: 14-yr-old boy dies after getting stuck in sand hole in rural Kellogg

As they grapple with the tragedy, that’s what they lean back on, faith, and want people to know who Hunter was.

“Spiritual, active, and kind” is how David Zabel describes his eighth grade student Hunter.

“He had a heart of gold,” said St. John’s Lutheran Church Principal and Teacher David Zabel.

One week ago, the classroom changed forever.

Hunter was digging a tunnel in the sand, when it collapsed on him.

Two days after he was rescued, he died in the hospital.

“Our deputies and other first responders have children of their own, so it’s just so much more traumatic to see a young life taken when you have has so much life to live yet,” Sheriff Rodney Bartsh.

“To send out the email that said Hunter is gone. He is no longer with us, to send that email out to the kids was heart-wrenching,” Zabel explained.

But Hunter believed strongly in his faith – his friends and family, believing in Hunter, and the kind of person he was. And this boy that gave back to everyone his whole life had one more gift to give. He was an organ donor.

His heart, now giving someone else a second chance. His family saying, it’s something he would be proud of.

“That’s who Hunter is, just a giving spirit and we saw that here too. He was a giving spirit and I think that’s what the family would love everyone to remember about him,” Zabel explained.

And in the classroom of St. John’s Lutheran school, Hunter’s would be empty seat sits.

“Some students have written some things of him some memories of him and bible passages,” Zabel said.

Filled with love from his teachers and classmates.

“Yeah he’s gone, but you know, he’s blessed,” said Zabel.