Justin Nicholas Diggs

Justin Nicholas Diggs (left) is pictured with two of his fellow campers. (Family photo / July 12, 2014)

The 12-year-old boy killed by a falling tree during a thunderstorm in Carroll County July 8 has been identified as a Pikesville Middle School student named Justin Diggs.

In a statement provided to media outlets, family members described Diggs as an honor student who enjoyed adventurous sports.

"He loved to swim, play basketball and loved being outside enjoying extreme activities, such as, zip-lining, bungee jumping and anything adventurous," the statement said. "He also loved to draw. Justin was a HAPPY, upbeat, very loving young man with a very BIG heart. He would be a friend to anyone. He attended Pikesville Middle School, Hernwood Elementary School and Happy Acres Preschool. He was an honor student and received several steward awards for being kind and helpful to other students. He brought joy to his mother and grandmother and all who were lucky enough to know him."

Diggs died and seven children were hospitalized due to falling branches and trees in Tuesday evening's violent thunderstorm at River Valley Ranch in Millers.

More than 100 campers ages 7 to 12 from across the Mid-Atlantic region were participating in a Bible study at the camp at the time of the storm. Counselors led the campers along a wooded path toward a shelter about 150 yards away, but the children were struck as they walked.

Ranch officials have said they were monitoring the storm, but the winds struck before the campers could be moved to a safe location.

The camp has set up a donation page on its website called "Justin's Fund."

"When tragedy strikes, God often sends His biggest help through people," the page states. "It was people who first responded to this tragedy, people who have taken time to soothe the pain through supportive words, and people who will be there in support for the years to come."

lbroadwater@baltsun.com

Twitter.com/lukebroadwater