Our community was shaken recently by the tragic passing of one of Emporia’s own bright young stars, 16-year-old Alli Hess.

The heartbreak of her passing has been felt everywhere.

On behalf of the entire community, we extend our profound sympathies and prayers to the Hess family as they grieve the passing of their precious daughter.

Alli was special. The stories, photos and videos circulating testify to that. The outpouring from the community testifies to that. The sadness felt by so many speaks to the impact she had on those who knew her.

Alli touched many.

And isn’t that what we want as parents? Our kids to live lives that matter to this world and beyond?

Alli’s life certainly mattered.

For 16 years, she deeply loved her family and her friends. She cared for them and wanted the best for them. She knew how to have fun, bringing joy and laughter to those around her. She loved music, her pets, volleyball, basketball, cooking, photography, babysitting, the lake, and sunsets.

But Alli also knew there was more than that.

Someone else she loved was Jesus. Her phone was filled with photos overlaid with meaningful Bible verses. Her playlists were filled with her favorite worship music. Her Bible was well-read. Her journal told of her dependence on Jesus for big decisions and for her future. And she was never afraid to share her love of Jesus with others.

The number of lives she touched with the love of Jesus we may not know this side of eternity. But there will be many.

Alli knew there was more and now she is living in that “more” with her greatest love of all.

Losing a child is absolutely not the way it’s supposed to be, but we pray the Hess family finds an element of peace in the fact that their daughter’s short life made more of a difference in 16 years than many do in 66 or more.

Rest in peace, sweet girl.

Ashley Walker


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