Gone Home: Scout Collapses While Hiking at Philmont Scout Ranch

Posted on 27 July 2009 by Dan

Gone Home Trail SignThe Northern Star Council and Philmont Scout Ranch Scouting Communities are morning the death of a member of our Scouting family. Timothy Nunn, a fourteen-year-old Scout from Troop 123 in Northern Star Council collapsed while hiking at Philmont Scout Ranch on Friday, July 24, 2009.

According to a statement by the Boy Scouts, the health and safety of participants is a top priority. His group immediately performed CPR until emergency medical personnel from Philmont Scout Ranch and Cimarron, New Mexico, arrived. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, they were unable to resuscitate him.

After being notified of their son’s death, Timmy’s parents flew to New Mexico; they later released the following statement:

Timmy loved Boy Scouts. All preliminary indications are that there is nothing anyone could have done, whether he would have been at home or out on a hike, to save him. God blessed us as parents to have given us Timmy, and God blessed Timmy to have given him Boy Scouts and the opportunity to go to Philmont. He loved Boy Scouts, baseball and his family and he died doing something he loved.

The family encouraged the Scouts in Timmy’s Troop to continue their trek at Philmont, and is postponing their son’s funeral until early August, after the group returns from New Mexico.

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30 Comments For This Post

  1. Dan Says:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Timothy’s family and friends. I am sure the Scouting family lost a great member on Friday.

    I hope when it is my time to go, I am at a place as beautiful as Philmont doing something I enjoy.

  2. Jose Says:

    As a SCA survivor saved by CPR performed by Scout leaders, I understand the situation faced by Timothy’s group and emergency personnel. My prayers are with Timothy’s family and troop. May the Great Master of all Scouts be with you…

  3. Tom Hackett Says:

    My sincere condolences to Timmy’s family and friends.

  4. Whitney Dunlap III, ASM Says:

    My condolences to the family and to the members of his troop and crew. I just returtned from Philmont and I know how hard everyone trains and the difficulty of the trek. Philmont is not easy, but it is worth the fight. I can truly feel for everyone concerned and I know that if the crew continued on their trek, as hard as that must be, then it was as an act of love for that crew member. I hope they can have their own life celebration for this scout at some special scenic spot and thank God for the life of their friend.

  5. shelly Says:

    What a terrible loss. :( I pray for Timmy’s family.

  6. Scott Says:

    Our crew hiked into basecamp on friday then learned of Timothy’s death. Our entire crew is praying for his family and crew. We know he is in heaven because he was already in God’s country.

  7. Shawn Says:

    As our oldest son departs on a Philmont Trek today 7-27-09, are thoughts and best wishes go out to Timothy’s family and friends as well as to the staff of Philmont and the emergency crew members of the community. As Firefighter/ EMT’s my wife and I can appreciate the efforts of all involved.

  8. Ray Howland Says:

    As someone who has spent many, many days hiking the trails at Philmont, let me add my heartfelt thoughts and prayers for this family. Let’s also not forget the Philmont staff who are surely taking this as hard as any of us.

  9. Sue Bani Says:

    From a fellow scouter, scoutmaster, mother and Philmont participant in 05 and 08 my prayers are with the family, the crew and their advisors. Timmy has surely entered through the pearly gates in heaven as he was as close to it as anyone can be. Philmont is truly God’s Country and his hands wrap around the staff, the crews and all that pass through that way in one way or another. Anyone that has spent days, weeks, or months at Philmont knows the love of God and the Scouting Family. My heart goes out to Timmy’s family – I hope they can find peace knowing Timmy was in God’s hands before he even became ill. God Speed – Bless All involved.

  10. Jason Says:

    I unlike most had the displeasure to have to hear the radio call from that emergency staff. Timothy’s death was felt hard be all those on the ranch. Everything that could be done was done but it wasn’t to be. Me and my crews prayers go out to his family.he went with his boots on in god’s country. Gods speed

  11. Judi Says:

    As the mother of a scout who was at Philmont this same time last year, I am very saddened to hear of Timothy’s passing. My prayers go out to his family and friends. God Bless.

  12. Kim P Says:

    I am so saddened to hear this. I just sent my 2 sons and husband off today for their Philmont trip with the Scouts. Although I am anxious about their safety, I know the leaders, scouts and Philmont staff are very well trained….God Bless them all, including Timmy, his family & all the scouts!

  13. Margie D Says:

    My heart felt sympathy to Timmy and his family. My son was/is still actually there with his troop (from PA), and I know that this has taken a toll on all involved. May God Bless you and watch over you and your family during this time.

  14. Seth R. Says:

    The Tooth of Time wept that day.

    My heart and soul send sympathies and condolences to James and Elizabeth.

    What a way-fantastic kid! … that He would have wanted him home so soon.

    Would that I could have held his hand in the crossing.


  15. Brian Says:

    We too, returned from our Philmont trek in July. It deeply saddens us to learn of Timmy’s death. Our prayers go first for Timmy’s family and for Timmy’s high placement in eternal life. But we also offer our prayers for all on Timmy’s crew; the Crew Leader, Chaplain’s Aid, crew members and adult advisors. We understand how difficult this must be for all the staff at Philmont also. You are in our prayers as well.

  16. Mark Whiteaker Says:

    Troop 173, as part of our weekly meeting, always closes by circling up to share a Scout Master minute. It was the unfortunate news of Timmy that was shared at this time – a moment of silence was recognized with great respect in the spirit of Timmy and all that he loved.

  17. Marian Cline Says:

    We are close friends with Timmy’s family and are so very saddened by this. We are praying for them and carry them in our hearts.

  18. sharon Says:

    My deepest sympathy to you. May God surround you with his endless love and grace to help you through these days. Know that you are in the thoughts and prayers of many who would not have known your pain except that he left us from a wonderous and magical place. I only heard of the tragity because my husband and son are there as well.
    Prayers to all who knew Timothy.

  19. Tracey Tousley Says:

    Deepest Sympathy for Timothy’s family and his troop.

  20. Kay Says:

    Link to information about Timmy’s Memorial Fund:

    Link to Timmy’s obituary (and guest book):

  21. Josh Tull Says:

    I was out on the trail doing a conservation project the day before this happened one of our crew mates fell and hit his head and arm he got stitches in his head i thought we had it bad but when we hiked in to base camp and saw the flags at half mass and heard the story at service that night we all just thought to ourselves wow we thought our crew mate was unlucky but timmy i just cant imagine what his crew mates and his family are going through im sorry for your loss i can say he went out doing something amazing.

  22. Charlie Says:

    Thank God for the Boy Scouts. To be surrounded by so many that hold the same things in reverence as you would be a pretty good way to go. Many prayers for the family, troop and staff that will suffer over the loss.

  23. Paul Says:

    my crew was picking up food when we found out. I rember we were sitting there eating lunch and a truck pulled up and we herd every thing on their radio, and when they said they needed a chaplin I knew some one died because my dad was a chaplion so I knew what a chaplins job was. And our crew was really fraeked out to just know that someone has just died, espicly knowing that we dont know how he died and it was really scary.

  24. Frederick Coombs Says:

    As a three time Philmonter and father of a current staffer ( who is at Ponil, one of the camps summoned to render aid), I am saddened by this terrible event. May his family take comfort in knowing that Tim finished his trek with the Lord by his side.

  25. Jim Newman Says:

    I was lucky enough to be able to take part in a Philmont Trek last year before my national guard unit deployed to Iraq. It is truly a beautiful place and place every scout should strive to go to. I look forward to going back next year when I am home. This was a terrible tragedy that occurred, to Timmy, his family, and his scouting family. Stay close to each other. God bless all affected by this tragedy.

  26. Christine Kertis Says:

    At the time of Timmy’s collapse, my son was and fellow scouters from Troop 965 Webster, Md. were at Philmont out on the trail. We got the call that told us that although our scouts and adults were safe, we had lost a fellow scout. My prayers went out immediately to him, his family, his troop members and the Philmont crew that was with him.
    As a mother, I couldn’t shake the feeling of shock and sadness that his parents must be going through to send their boy off on yet another scouting adventure,to have it come to such an unexpected tragic end. tragic end. However, the scouter in me knows that he left this world doing something he loved, and in such a beautiful place.
    May we always remember him in our prayers, God Bless.

  27. Alan Says:

    Having just arrived in Philmont base camp on August 27 to go on a trek, the news of a loss of a life shocked my entire crew. Every staff camp, every Philmont flag, the entire Philmont Staff membership(that totals in the thousands) in-country morn Timmy’s loss. Crew 728-S2 G.N.Y.C. contingent sends our prayers to Timmy’s family and crew. God Bless

  28. Alex Adams Says:

    My condolences to the family and his troop members. My trek to Philmont was during the summer of 1966. I will never forget my personal experiences gained by doing something that has helped shape my life. Take comfort in the knowledge that your son was doing something he truly enjoyed. May he rest in peace.

  29. Micahel Fullerton Says:

    My condolences to your family and his family of fellow troop members. I had a great experience treking Philmont Summer 1983. The experience and friendship was a lifetime of memories, I am sure your son had some great ones. I know as a father words can never replace him, but always remember the hugs and smiles from him.

    Michael Fullerton
    Eagle Scout Spring 83

  30. Nicholas Drake Troop 664 Says:

    i remember hearing a few hours after we got off the mountain at church service about this…it was the same day it happened



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