Pikesville boy killed during storm is remembered during memorial service

BALTIMORE - Family, friends and others gathered Tuesday to pay their respects to Justin Diggs , the 12-year-old Pikesville boy who died last week when a tree fell on him during a severe storm.

Diggs was a camper at River Valley Ranch, a Christian camp in Westminster when a fast moving storm came through the region. Camp staff worked to move the children to a safe area, but strong winds caused more than a dozen trees to fall, including the one that killed Diggs. Eight others campers were injured.

Those that knew Diggs reflected on his life Tuesday during a memorial service at New Psalmist Baptist Church in Baltimore.

“Justin was the light of my life and a light to everyone who knew him,” said Antoinette Diggs, Justin’s mother, in a statement. “He is going home and he will be greatly missed. I want to thank River Valley Ranch, New Psalmist Baptist and the entire community for their overwhelming support.

“It has carried me through a very difficult time. Please pray for all who were affected by this terrible tragedy including the River Valley Ranch family.”

River Valley Ranch director John Zeigenfuse called Justin “a blessing from God [who] brought joy to everyone he touched.”

“[Justin] was loving and compassionate, willing to befriend anyone,” said Zeigenfuse in a statement. “His smile and laugh could light up a room. Smart, kind, athletic and incredibly talented, Justin made the world a better place. He is a tribute to his amazing mother Antoinette. We know that he is looking down on us from Heaven.”

New Psalmist Baptist Church Bishop Walter S. Thomas Sr. said the Diggs family were longtime members of the congregation and knows Justin will be missed by all of those who knew him.

“On behalf of my family, leadership and members of New Psalmist Baptist Church, we send our deepest sympathies to the family of Justin Diggs,” said Thomas in a statement  His mother Antoinette and their family are longtime members of the New Psalmist family and we surround them with love. 

“It is our prayer that they will be able to lean on their faith and knowledge of God to get them through this difficult time.  We are also praying for everyone affected by this tragedy.  We pray that God's peace will sustain all of us as we deal with the loss of Justin.”

River Valley Ranch has set up a fund to assist the family. For more information about the fund, visit  www.rivervalleyranch.com/justinsfund .

The camp is also accepting cards for family and all the victims. Those cards can be mailed to the camp at 4443 Grave Run Rd, Millers, MD 21102

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