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Published: 11/23/2002

Tiffin U. students remember friend's generosity

BY KIM BATES
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TIFFIN -When it started to snow early yesterday at Tiffin University, Adam Ports' grieving friends did something spontaneous to celebrate his memory.

They went outside and had a massive snow ball fight in honor of Mr. Ports, a freshman who died Wednesday in a stunt that may have been inspired by the television show Jackass.

But their laughter was short-lived, and their moods turned somber again yesterday afternoon when about 200 friends, students, and faculty members joined for a memorial service to remember Mr. Ports - a person who was described as being helpful, happy, and always funny.

Several of his friends said their favorite memory of Mr. Ports was last month on Halloween night, when he dressed up as a tennis player in a very short skirt.

“He always seemed like he was in a good mood,” said his roommate, Allan Dooley. “He was a nice person to everyone.”

Mr. Ports, 18, of Wooster, Ohio, died at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center in Toledo, where he was taken after a Tuesday night accident that involved other Tiffin University students.

The student received fatal head injuries after he fell from the bed of a pickup truck in the country while he and friends were tossing a burning chair from the vehicle. According to an incident report from the Seneca County Sheriff's Office, they were trying to create some type of stunt like they have on the TV show Jackass, on MTV.

In the program, which has been turned into a hit movie, participants perform dare-devil students stunts such as setting themselves on fire.

During yesterday's hour-long memorial service, friends focused on Mr. Ports - not the tragedy that took his life. All together, about seven students in two separate vehicles were with Mr. Ports when he fell from the truck.

They all attended the service yesterday, but none was willing to speak afterward about what happened that night.

One of Mr. Ports' friends, Derek Chakos, 21, of Poland, Ohio, said Mr. Ports was service-oriented, helping the Sigma Omega Sigma Fraternity with recent service projects. That included volunteering to swallow a goldfish for a fund-raiser.

He also helped with campus student-government projects, said Nicole Zwick, 20. He did so recently when he offered to set up and dismantle a stage for a band visiting the university grounds.

Walter Zielinski, the university's vice president for student affairs, said he and college President Paul Marion will attend visiting hours for Mr. Ports tomorrow from 5 to 9 p.m. at the McIntire, Davis, and Greene Funeral Home in Wooster.

The school will provide some transportation for students who wish to go to the funeral service at 1 p.m. Monday at the West Hill Baptist Church, Wooster, he added.

Mr. Zielinski said at least two dozen students already have said that they're planning to attend the service.



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