GERMANTOWN — “Josh was an amazing supportive brother,” recalled twin sister Whitney Snyder during Saturday night’s community vigil for her 17-year-old brother Josh Snyder, a Northwest High School senior who died Oct. 3 when his car struck a stopped truck on Interstate 270. “He still can put a smile on my face,” she said.
“Josh, I will cherish every moment,” Whitney Snyder said during the 45-minute vigil held in the school’s football stadium, including playing in the waves and taking cold showers because he used up all the hot water, and watching television together.
Wrestling teammates, school friends and officials, and other family members spoke during the vigil, which concluded with everyone holding high a lit candle in his memory.
Snyder, a Boyds resident, was driving a silver Buick Century southbound on I-270 when for reasons unknown he veered to the left and onto the left shoulder and hit the rear of a Ford box truck that was parked there, according to Maryland State Police. Police said alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
Several classmates briefly walked onto the stadium track to talk about their classmate and friend. Most spoke of the young man’s kindness and support. Following a request from the family, the names of speakers at the vigil are not included in this article.
Northwest wrestling coach Joe Vukovich, who coached Josh for three years, called him a hardworking and inquisitive member of the team who “always worked to be a champion.”
The team has dedicated its upcoming season to Josh’s memory.
Josh also participated in the school’s cross-country team last season
“He was determined,” said one friend. “It was very rare that Josh would fail.”
Added someone who identified himself as Rob, “Josh was a really genuine guy. He always had a smile on his face.”
Another friend, who first met Josh when they attended safety patrol camp in fifth grade, spoke of his friend’s constant words of encouragement, noting that Josh gave him the confidence to try out for the school’s baseball team.
“I’ll just always remember Josh giving me encouragement,” he said.
“He’s honestly been such an inspiration to me,” said another friend, who met Josh in ninth grade when they were both wearing the same shoes.
“I just really hope we come together as a community and show love to everyone,” said one friend. “In a world full of hatred and craziness, Josh always spread love.”
There was talk of Josh’s great birthday parties and playing basketball in his driveway.
One classmate, who met Josh through her friendship with his sister, Whitney, recalled Josh proposing to her with a ring pop in kindergarten.
“Josh was such a sweet, little boy,” she said. “I will always remember him.”
Jason Snyder, Josh’s father, thanked everyone for being there and noted, “Every day is a little bit better. We are finding a little more to laugh about than cry about.”
The family is moving moment to moment rather than day to day, he said.
The teen’s grandmother also spoke. “He’s my darling. He’s my star,” she said. She told of the special bond she had with Josh, calling him her “favorite grandson,” as her other grandchildren are female.
Following Snyder’s death, Northwest High School Principal Jimmy D’Andrea sent an email that read in part, “For those of you who knew Josh, we ask that you remember and celebrate his life. He was a very kind, hard-working individual who had a positive impact on all of those around him, and he will be deeply missed.”