Like his older brother David, Treí-Roan Vann wanted to be a police officer when he grew up. He also wanted to play soccer this year. He never got the chance to do either.
Treí, a third-grade student at Linden Elementary School, was found unresponsive on his school bus at about 4:10 p.m. Tuesday near his home on Wilberforce Avenue. He was taken by ambulance to Methodist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
His father Crist Vann said Treí, as he was called, was a very good eight-year-old.
“He didn’t get into too many problems,” Vann said Wednesday night. “He was always concerned about people. He was always willing to lend a helping hand. He was always the life of the room.”
It’s not clear what happened to Treí on Tuesday.
“He went to school,” Crist Vann said. “Everybody at school said he was fine. On the way home, he was unresponsive. They thought he was asleep. They couldn’t bring him back.”
The family is not aware of any health problems. His father said the University of Tennessee is doing an autopsy, and the family is waiting for the results.
Treí was a good student and a Cub Scouts Bear this year.
“He was making good grades,” Crist Vann said.
Crist and Treí’s mom, Amy Vann, were at home when the school bus stopped in front of their house in the Scarboro neighborhood on a rainy Tuesday afternoon. They heard sirens and saw a police car pull up behind the bus and stop.
That’s when the rescuers told the family something was wrong with Treí.
“That’s all we know for now,” Vann said.
Paramedics tried life support at the scene, and an ambulance brought Treí to MMC.
Treí’s older brother David is in police officer school in Virginia. His two sisters, Nikki and Katie, also live there. Treí also has a stepsister Chynna, who lives in Summertown, Tenn.
Treí was active in football and had played his second year in the Westside Wildcats 7-8 at the Boys Club. The team was undefeated this year, except for the championship game against Lake City in the Boys Club VFC Conference on Oct. 26.
“We beat them in the regular season, but they beat us in the championship,” Crist Vann said. Crist has a picture of Treí posing with the second-place trophy.
His son planned to play more sports this year.
“He wanted to go play soccer, but he didn’t make it to the soccer season,” Vann said.
Treí will be cremated. The family is not from the area and will be moving out of state in about two years.
“We don’t want to bury him and leave him,” Crist Vann said. “We’re going to cremate him and keep him in the home.”
The Linden Lions community has rallied in support of the Vann family. Linden Elementary School Principal Roger Ward said an account is being opened at Bank of America in Oak Ridge to accept donations to defray the costs of yesterday’s tragedy. Checks can be made out to Oak Ridge Schools, with Memorial Fund on the memo line.
“At this point, the bank has not opened the account, but you may bring donations to Hot Bagel on Saturday morning, or to the school anytime starting Monday,” Ward said in an e-mail to the Linden community. “Thank you in advance for your support for this family.”
Separately, the Linden Parent-Teacher Association is scheduling meals for the Vanns. They’ve already had a great response in just two hours today and have meals scheduled for well into December, PTA Secretary Jeannie Miller said Wednesday evening.
“This has been the most receptive community,” Miller said. “Linden wants them to understand that the whole Linden family is here to support them.”
The response has been so good that the PTA is not looking for any more people to volunteer for meal scheduling yet. They want to sustain interest and may do a second round of publicity in a few weeks to get more meals.
Miller said her son is a second-grader who was in Cub Scouts with Treí.
“Once you met him, you were a friend and had fun with him,” Miller said.
Treí left his mark in his short time here.
“Treí was an awesome kid,” said family friend Michael Peterson, the cub master at Linden, where Crist Vann was the den leader for three years. Two of Peterson’s sons were in Cub Scouts with Treí and one was a football teammate.
“Ever since the day he joined, it was nothing but 100 percent,” Peterson said of Treí. “Words cannot describe him. He was one-in-a-million. He thrived on football. He thrived on scouting. Anything with his friends.”