Connor Johnson—21, PA.

On April 10, 2011, Connor Johnson was killed in a car crash caused by distracted driving. He was riding in a van that swerved off Interstate 79 just north of Pittsburgh, PA, striking a light pole. The impact killed the 21-year-old instantly.

Since Connor was a young child, he was always known for living on the edge. Those who remember him describe him as an “adrenaline junkie.” As a child, Connor channeled that energy into sports. At age 6, he began to play hockey and had the opportunity to compete in the Quebec Pee-Wee World Championship.

As Connor got older, his passion for hockey grew. He played competitively for the Amateur Pens AAA Tier 1 team and the North Pittsburgh Wildcats as well as for his high school team. His family describes these times traveling from game to game and tournament to tournament as full of laughter—these trips offer some of their fondest memories of Connor.

After graduating, Connor began working for Ionadi Construction. He took pride in his work and was adamant about learning the trade well. Though he now worked full time, Connor did not give up his love for sports. He was a Golden Glove boxer, a mixed martial artist, and took up bull riding. Connor’s family said that of all of his new hobbies, he enjoyed bull riding the most. Connor was never seen at a rodeo without a giant smile on his face. Even after a particularly rough fall from a bull, his grimace would quickly turn into a grin.

There is not just one word that can describe Connor. He was known to be fun, funny and fiercely loyal. He was protective of all of his friends, quickly defending those he thought were being bullied. Generous as well as protective, Connor would give without counting the cost. His family said he would have offered someone the shirt off his back and would not have expected anything in return.