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Trevor Wehner 'did all the right things,' Serena coach remembers

Sheridan native, NIU student ID-ed as Aurora shooting victim

Trevor Wehner, of Sheridan, was among the five employees killed yesterday in the Aurora shooting.
Trevor Wehner, of Sheridan, was among the five employees killed yesterday in the Aurora shooting.

Serena High School basketball coach Dain Twait described Trevor Wehner as an individual who did all the right things.

Trevor was a senior during Twait’s first year as head coach in 2014-15 and his leadership set an example for the program.

“He came ready to practice, he didn’t take any off,” Twait said in a phone interview Saturday afternoon. “He was always joking and goofing around, keeping a fun atmosphere.”

“ ... You’d be hard pressed to find anyone that said a bad thing about him.”

A Sheridan native and a soon-to-be Northern Illinois University graduate, Trevor had just begun working in the human resources department at Mueller Water Products when he was included in a meeting Friday in which an employee was being terminated.

That meeting turned tragic when employee Gary Martin, subject of the termination, opened fire in the room. Trevor was among the five employees killed in the Aurora shooting.

Trevor left a strong impression at Serena High School, where he graduated. He played soccer, basketball and baseball there, making the honor roll several times in the classroom.

“Trevor was a special kid here at SHS,” said his former soccer coach Dean DeRango, who also is the athletic director at Serena High. “One of those kids you could push hard because he was so athletic. He loved to joke and tease with his teammates and coaches.”

Trevor also played baseball and graduated from Illinois Valley Community College with an associate degree in 2017.

Twait and much of the Serena High School community found out Trevor was one of the victims during halftime of Friday’s game against LaMoille. The coach said they withheld the information until after the game from the players who knew Trevor, but most of the parents knew.

“It’s unfortunate whenever anything like this happens,” Twait said. “You don’t want anyone to ever have to go through that experience.”

The coach addressed his team Saturday morning, because he wanted to remind players of the impact Trevor had.

“We weren’t a good varsity basketball team then, we were 0-7 or 0-8, and we had to have players buy in to believe in the culture to build a program,” Twait said. “[Trevor] was a leader of that. I believe we’re a successful program now because of the seniors like Trevor.”

Twait was impressed with how Trevor carried himself off the floor. An easy-going student, he made friendships with the young kids who like to hang around close to the basketball team, including Twait’s 10-year-old son.

Trevor would return for “Meet the Huskers” nights and pick up right where he left off in conversations with his old coaches.

“When we told my son the news, he said ‘[Trevor] was my friend,’ ” Twait said. “He did all the right things.”

DeRango said he will miss Trevor’s visits.

“He would stop by and visit when he was back from school and keep us up-to-date with his life,” DeRango said. “ ... My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

The shooting death saddened the Sheridan community.

“I want HIS name and picture shared not that of a cold calculated killer!! Our little town of Sheridan is rocked to its very core!” Cynthia Rose Cascarano said in a Facebook post shared several thousand times Saturday morning.

Trevor was expected to graduate in May with a degree in human resource management, Northern Illinois University President Lisa Freeman said. Friday was his first day as an intern at Henry Pratt.

“He and his brother Thomas were like sons to me and every other parent in our community,” Cascarano in a Facebook post. “He was big brother to many, many boys in our tight-knit community Including my boys and was a great role model.”

Police released the names Saturday morning of the five employees killed in Friday’s shooting at the Henry Pratt building in Aurora. In addition to Trevor, they were:

Clayton Parks of Elgin, the human resources manager

Russell Beyer of Yorkville, a mold operator

Vicente Juarez of Oswego, a stock room attendant and forklift operator

Josh Pinkard also of Oswego, plant manager

Another shooting victim, a male employee, was treated at a local hospital for nonlife-threatening gunshot wounds.

• Shaw Media’s Kane County Chronicle contributed to this report

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