DUNCAN, Okla. — A hunter, who recently learned his wife is expecting their first child, died while trying to save his friend's dog during a weekend hunting trip in Oklahoma.
Tanner Shorter drowned while trying to save the dog in an icy pond in Stephens County on Saturday morning. The dog did not survive.
"I think Tanner's dad said it best: God has a plan, and it was Tanner's time, and at least God took him with Tanner doing what he loved to do most," said friend Kevin Billbrey, who worked with Shorter as a volunteer firefighter.
The 22-year-old was a newlywed who'd recently learned his wife was pregnant, and was remembered as someone who had a great love for the outdoors.
"It would not matter if it was hot, cold or whatever, Tanner was going to be hunting," friend Colt Elam said.
"Tanner has made an impact on everyone through sports, through FFA, through the fire department. The whole community knew him. They loved him."
Elam has been Shorter's best friend since grade school.
"At first, I was mad. I was questioning God, asking why," he said.
Shorter's former football coach at Empire High School said the young man was resilient, like the time he played with an injury.
"He went out there and played the best game he played in four years. After that game, I knew that that kid was a winner," Tony Robert said.
The community is holding a benefit for Shorter on Jan. 21 on Main Street in Duncan, Okla.