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In memoriam: Hayden Miles ’21, 2002-2018

Grant Campbell, News Editor

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The LT community lost Hayden Miles ’21 in a tragic accident on Monday, March 5. Miles was struck by a train in Western Springs at around 7 p.m.

Despite the tragedy of his death, members of the community still remember his charisma and happiness, including his Boy Scout troop leaders Jim and Beth Korenchan.

“He was always very happy and enthusiastic about the things he was involved in,” Beth said. “I would see him in [scout] troop meetings and jazz band concerts. He was so enthusiastic about his music and scouting. He was just a happy young man.”

Miles was a member of Troop #216. Before he attended Highlands Middle School, he lived in Florida. Scouting was one of the first connections he made with his new town, Beth said.

“About a week before we lost [Hayden], I was at his performance in the jazz band concert,” Jim said. “He had a solo, and I think it was his first one in a concert in high school. Hayden put himself out there. When you perform a solo, you’re improvising. You’re putting yourself out there to everyone in the audience, and you’re doing it for the love of music. He was brave enough to do that.”

Miles was a member of the jazz band and marching band. The Korenchan’s had children of their own who knew Miles from these activities. However, some of their fondest memories are from his involvement with their troop.

“He was a huge outdoors person,” Jim said. “He loved being with friends on scouting adventures. The first time I met him was at a scouting sledding trip with his dad. He was on the hill the whole day. We created a little jump and he was consistently getting air [on his jumps].”

Because of his love of the outdoors, Miles received a great honor from his fellow scouts. He was elected to the Order of the Arrow.

“[To be considered] you must be recognized by your peers,” Jim said. “No adults vote, and he was selected from our troop to be a member [of the Order of the Arrow].”

Miles was very close with his father, Eric Miles, Beth said. They were always together on scouting endeavors whenever they could be. Because no adults were in the voting or nomination process of the Order of the Arrow, his father was unable to be in attendance for the ceremony. Immediately after he was initiated, he asked someone to take a picture of him with his sash and sent it to his dad, Beth said.

“They were both good with knots,” she said. “Both were fisherman and came from Florida. Hayden’s grandfather was in the Navy, so he was extremely proficient at knots. He and his dad knew these knots and were never afraid to teach others about them.”

Through both his participation in music and scouting, the Korenchans said that his legacy will live on through these passions.

“He was very talented in music,” Beth said. “He had a passion for it. He was also the scout who would always be there to help. Whether an adult needed help or a scout, you didn’t have to ask. He would just see the need and bring himself forward to see if there was anything he could do. The two things that stand out were his music and his scouting. He exemplified everything important that we hold in scouting.”

Jim echoes much the same, but also added onto his wife’s comments.

“Our troop came together in this tragedy and found out what we were capable of,” he said. “At our weekly Tuesday night troop meeting, we held a eulogy [for Hayden]. We had 100 people at the meeting where we would normally have 50. We found out how we could come together as a family.”

Troop #216 partnered with two other local troops to cut ribbons after the eulogy. They then covered trees with the ribbons reaching from Highlands to St. John of the Cross, the host parish for his funeral. At the funeral, there was a line of at least 40 scouts saluting as the procession began, Jim said.

“He will be missed,” Jim said. “He was an enthusiastic scout. As a scout leader, you love to see an enthusiastic scout. In [all] my years as a scout master, I can tell you that’s the highest compliment.”

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Grant Campbell, News Editor

To whomever it concerns:

You may know me as the News Editor for the LION.  To be honest, I consider myself a duo editor.  If you look on this website,...

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In memoriam: Hayden Miles ’21, 2002-2018