This family lost their 18-year-old son and brother, Josh Nash, when he was killed in a single-vehicle accident between Wells and Elko the morning of Sunday, Nov. 24, 2002, just four days before Thanksgiving. He was survived by his parents, an older sister and a younger brother.
I’m not going to delve into the details of the accident, but I will say it was horrifying for everyone who knew Josh.
I first met Josh, who lived in Spring Creek near Elko, through a mutual friend during my junior year of high school at a rodeo in my hometown of Wells. Josh was a freshman at the time and I will never forget his red hair, freckles and warm smile — or how much he loved his family and friends.
The most impressive quality about Josh was the way he treated others, especially his little brother Kaleb, who I am guessing was about 6 years old at the time.
In the years I attended high school rodeos with Josh, I don’t recall very many days when Kaleb could not be seen running around the rodeo grounds wearing an outfit that matched Josh’s exactly.
I don’t know too many teenagers who would be OK with their younger sibling sporting a matching outfit, but Josh didn’t seem to mind.
Over time, Josh became one of my best friends. I could always count on him to be my dancing buddy when we went out at night and always knew who fed and brushed my horse in my absence (even though he would never admit to doing it).
It made me nervous every time he climbed on the back of a bull, especially those first few rides, but Josh was tough.
That’s why it hit me like a rock the morning a friend who worked at the Twin Falls, Idaho, paper called me (I was living in Moscow, Idaho, at the time) and told me she just received Josh’s obituary.
After the initial shock subsided, the first person I thought about was his mother, who I had recently seen while at wedding near Elko.
Immediately afterward, I thought of his sweet little brother, who is frozen in my mind as a 6-year-old, even though I realize he is about 18 years old now. I wondered how he would go on without his brother because they loved each other so much, and I worried Josh’s death could be devastating for Kaleb’s future.
A few days ago when I started thinking about the Nash family, I looked Kaleb up on Facebook. I was so happy to see photos of this young man, now in college, who has followed in his brother’s footsteps. I can see from his photos and his postings he loves his family and has turned out to be a lot like Josh.
Later that day, I located a video Josh’s mom, Cindi, made and that was posted on Elko’s Western Folklife Center website. The video is titled “Brothers” and features Cindi reading a poem she wrote about her sons while a slideshow of family photos plays.
The entire poem is beautiful but my favorite part is the end, in which Cindi says, “All I know is these red-headed boys were best buddies from the first time the little one could breathe,” while a picture of Josh holding baby Kaleb flashes on the screen.
Then a live video of the grown up Kaleb walking to the accident site and kneeling next to a cross, which I would imagine still is on the side of the road today, plays as Cindi says, “And the one and only thing that separates them for now is eternity.”
As the video closes, Kaleb looks up at the sky and halfway smiles.
I was inspired by the way this family has handled death with love and support for each other. It reinforces some things I always have believed: Your attitude makes all the difference and a strong family can make it through anything.
I send nothing but thoughts of love and respect to the Nash family this holiday season.
Jessica Carner is a reporter with the Sparks Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.