14-year-old girl dies, Tremont village mobilizes in support

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Last week, 14-year-old Emerson Howell died suddenly. Jeremy Garrett, her former principal at Tremont Middle School, said it was a complete shock.

Garrett said after hearing from her parents he drove to Emerson’s house.

“We just knew something wasn’t good so I was just praying on my drive over there and when I got there my heart just sank when they told me that she didn’t wake up,” Garrett said.

Garrett described Emerson as selfless and mood-lifting. “Emerson just brought a smile to everybody’s face, she’s just one of those kids you love having at school because she’s worked hard,” he said.

To honor Emerson, the school named a school award after her. The award is now called “Emerson Howell Turk Traits Award.” It was created two years ago to recognize and honor students that exhibit respect, responsibility, self-advocacy, perseverance and collaboration. Emerson received this award in 2019.

Also, Emerson’s family is challenging everyone to do kind acts in the name of Emerson, whether that be praying for someone, donating to those in need, or sharing a smile. The family asks that you share your acts of kindness on social media by using the hashtag #actsforemerson.

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