Classmates remember Josh Miko’s ability to run in a variety of circles and fit in with all of them.
At Los Alamos High School, the junior was active in outlets as varied as the school’s Junior ROTC, plus its choir and German programs.
Over the weekend, Miko, 17, died when a snow cave collapsed during a camping trip with his Boy Scout troop in Southern Colorado, according to the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Garth Crowther wrote in an email his department received a report from New Mexico State Police around 6:35 p.m. Saturday about an emergency incident seven miles north of the Colorado-New Mexico state line on Cumbres Pass, where 16 Boy Scouts and adults from Los Alamos were building snow caves near the Red Lake Trail.
According to the sheriff’s office, Miko was alone working on his snow cave, a type of shelter dug into the snow to guard from wind and freezing temperatures, while the rest of the group was at a campfire. One of the boys went to check on Miko and found him buried in snow.
Members of the group dug him out immediately, attempted to resuscitate him and transported the boy by private vehicle to a medical clinic in Chama, where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.
“This is an extremely sad time for our Scouting family following the death of one of our youth members after an incident while camping,” Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. “We offer our deepest condolences to the Miko family and we will support them in any way that we can.”
His death stunned the community, particularly students and staff of Los Alamos High School who were mourning this week.
“He had a large group of friends and peers,” said Los Alamos High Principal Carter Payne, who added he has spent the past few days consoling students.
“ROTC, choir and our German program are all groups who typically travel as a cohort,” Payne said. “Josh was a quiet leader. He didn’t ask you to follow him. He inspired you to follow him.”