Those who knew 19-year-old Trenton Johnson say he was well liked by everyone. Praise for Johnson is pouring in after he was killed Wednesday while fighting a wildland fire in Montana.
The Montana University State student was a member of the National Honor Society and an all star and former captain of his high school lacrosse team.
Johnson was working for Grayback Forestry Inc., on only his second wildland fire deployment when he was struck by a tree.
“The top broke out of the tree toward a group of four individuals,” Grayback President Mike Wheelock told the Missoulian on Thursday. “One was the crew boss. Trenton M. Johnson was struck by the tree. From what I gather, it was a burning tree.”
Johnson was flown to a hospital and pronounced dead Wednesday evening.
“He was my favorite player that I ever coached,” Kevin Flynn, a former Hellgate lacrosse coach, told the Missoulian. “He started for us all four years, and we won the state title all four years. He made varsity as a freshman and came to every game of his career, so he played more games than any other player for Hellgate.
“He was one of those goofy, gangly, non-athletic kids that found something he could get good at,” Flynn said. “He turned into a great player, a great teammate and a captain for us. He was well-liked by everybody.”
In his senior year, Johnson earned an Academic All-State Award and was a qualifier for the Business Professionals Award. He earned a Premier Scholarship to Montana State University and was a member of the National Honor Society.
“This is a heart-wrenching loss of life and Trenton leaves behind many friends and family members who are feeling this profound loss right now,” Lolo National Forest Supervisor Tim Garcia said in an email statement on Thursday. “This loss is rippling across the Lolo National Forest this morning and is most keenly felt on the Seeley Lake Ranger District, where Trenton’s sister works as a Forest Service employee.”