LAUREL HILL — A Laurel Hill teenager’s friends seek the community’s help to pay for his final expenses.
Benny Lee Howell, 19, of Laurel Hill, died in an early Sunday morning traffic accident just off Steele Mill Creek Road.
Both he and the driver, Chase James Paul Locke, 19, attended Laurel Hill School, according to an Okaloosa County Schools spokesperson.
The district sent grief counselors to LHS on Monday to help Hoboes during this difficult time. Meanwhile, Howell’s friends set up a GoFundMe account to collect funds for his funeral. So far, they’ve raised $2,115 of a $7,500 goal.
The site, itself a memorial, features fond remembrances of a beloved young man who died too soon.
“Benny never met a stranger and everyone who knew him, loved him,” the site states. “He was a kind hearted, well mannered, hard working young man.
“Benny would literally give you the shirt off his back if he thought you needed it. He never missed an opportunity to help someone and never turned away from hard work.”
The site also features a look back on lighthearted times, with a poster of “Benny-isms with English translations.”
Friends keep Howell’s memory alive with the teenager’s signature expressions such as “Slang me one nem,” “Swang on em” and “Aww hex naw.”
Loved ones will celebrate Howell’s life 2 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Chapel of Whitehurst-Powell Funeral Home. The Rev. Mike McVay will officiate.
Want to donate? Here's the GoFundMe site.