Knoxville (WVLT) - Jessica and Phil Hensley joined hundreds of family and friends to pay their respects to the 12-year-old Ashley Paine. Her funeral was held at Weatherford Mortuary in Oak Ridge Thursday night.
Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone was there.
We were at the funeral home when the Hensley's arrived, and they declined to talk on camera with us. They didn't want to take the focus off of Ashley, the little girl who saved their daughter's life, and it seems Ashley saved those around her in other ways too. Literally, every classmate we spoke with said Ashley was always smiling and always there when they needed a friend.
"She was friends with everybody. You could put her out on the street and she would make friends with a stranger in five minutes," friend Forrest Elwood said.
Ashley Paine and Jordon Hensley will never meet, but they're lives are forever connected through one heart. Friends and classmates say Ashley had a heart that was bigger than life itself and she touched others with brightness.
"Like that time my grandma died, she just started talking, making you laugh and you feel good the rest of that day," classmate Stevie Verschuren said.
And today she's breathing new life into a stranger who lived less than 20 miles away.
"I was actually planning to write a letter to the girl that did it. Let her know that I'm there for her," Elwood said.
Jordon Hensley's parents made a special trip to attend Ashley's funeral. A grateful mom and a grieving mom together for the first time. Friends say Ashley loved competing in sports and would be happy to know she's helping another girl her age to do the same.
"I think it's really good, and like this girl she was born with her heart backward, and she always wanted to be athletic, and she a person's heart that was all athletic," friend Ashley Squaloia said.
"I think that's a wonderful thing because all those other people there that couldn't do the stuff that she could," classmate Kristin Jenkins said.
Ashley will be buried Friday afternoon, and Friday evening there will be a candlelight vigil at Robertsville Middle School to honor her.