The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


November 4, 2011

Brandon Bitner's death brings bullying to forefront

MOUNT PLEASANT MILLS  -  At 3 a.m. Saturday, exactly one year after 14-year-old Midd-West student Brandon Bitner took his life, his mother will place a vase at the memorial site next to the highway where he died and light the candle inside it.

That one act will set off a day of events to remember the boy -- who began a communitywide conversation on bullying -- including a 4 p.m. celebration of life service at his graveside, followed by a candle lighting near his place of death at Routes 104 and 11-15, where a 3-foot cross has been erected.

A picnic at his family's home, 5003 Route 104 in Mount Pleasant Mills, will be held from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

"Brandon loved picnics," said his mom, Tammy Simpson.

"It will be a hard day," she said, adding that lots of family and friends will be there to lend support. "He is truly missed."

Brandon Bitner, who friends and family describe as quiet, nice to everyone and an accomplished violin player, took his life Nov. 5, 2010, leaving behind a suicide note that said he had been victimized by bullies for five years.

Simpson has no advice to share with other parents about how to tell if their children are considering suicide.

"Brandon didn't have any signs," Simpson said. "That's the most upsetting thing."

He didn't change anything about himself, she said. His grades didn't drop, his friends didn't change, he didn't isolate himself.

The night before he died, he and Simpson had a normal evening together, sitting at home and laughing, and giving the normal hug before bed, and a "See you in the morning."

The tragic event, however, came with a message straight from Bitner. And that's the message Simpson and a number of Bitner's family and friends are dedicated to spreading.

Text Only
  • dogs31.jpg Is Spike spiteful?

    Dog is often considered man’s best friend, but a recent study shows he may be a little green over how much time you spend with other pooches.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • CORBETT_TomC.jpg Corbett: VanKirk helped to save the world

    Gov. Tom Corbett today issued the following statement on the death of Northumberland County native Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay:

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Afraid of grandson? "Now I am," Amanda Trometter says

    Erick Trometter slept with hunting and butcher knives beside his bed while living with the grandmother he allegedly attacked on the morning he was shot after allegedly pulling a knife on a city police officer.

    July 30, 2014

  • vk1.jpg Ted VanKirk: Seen from above

    The Daily Item is republishing online its spring 2012 interview with Northumberland native Ted “Dutch” VanKirk, the navigator of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first of two atomic bombs on Japan in 1945. The story appeared in Inside Pennsylvania magazine. VanKirk died Monday in Georgia at age 93.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • vankirk_ted1.jpg “The Japanese were beaten before we even dropped the bomb”

    Compared to the 58 other missions they ran together, the one they were assigned to carry out on Aug. 6, 1945 was easy.
    There would be no return fire, flying conditions were ideal, and if all went according to plan, they would be back to the base in Tinian by nightfall.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • Ritz-Craft Ritz-Craft to hire 60 for Mifflinburg plant

    MIFFLINBURG — Sixty jobs are coming to Mifflinburg as a Ritz-Craft production facility that went dark seven years ago amid the housing downturn will come back on line during the next few months, company officials announced Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Selinsgrove man dies when tractor flips in Chapman Township

    PORT TREVORTON — A 57-year-old Selinsgrove man died Tuesday evening when the farm tractor he was driving overturned and pinned him beneath it, according to Snyder County Coroner Bruce Hummel.

    July 29, 2014

  • VanKirk 'Real hero' of World War II dies

    ATLANTA, Ga. — Theodore “Dutch” VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Enola Gay, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died Monday of natural causes in the retirement home where he lived in Georgia. He was 93.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mayor: Rental ban for drug dealers a success

    SUNBURY — A controversial landlord-tenant ordinance passed by the City Council in 2012 has become one of Sunbury’s “better success stories,” Mayor David Persing said Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Mom cited for allegedly leaving baby in car for 12 minutes

    LEWISBURG — A summary citation carrying a maximum fine of $127.50 was filed Tuesday against a Lewisburg woman accused of leaving her 10-month-old baby unattended for 12 minutes in a car in Union County on July 21.

    July 29, 2014

The Daily Marquee

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.