GoFundMe Campaign Raises Funds to Send Friends Home for Amtrak Victim's Funeral

Two of Justin Zemser's friends were able to attend his funeral Friday morning thanks to a GoFundMe page

Photo: Courtesy GoFundMe

Justin Zemser, 20, was one of the eight people killed in Tuesday’s Amtrak derailment.

Zemser, an only child, was finishing his second year at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and was on his way home to visit his mother in Queens, New York.

Two of Zemser’s close friends from home, Nkozi Stewart and Christopher Carr, attend college on the other side of the country – Stewart at the U.S Air Force Academy in Colorado and Carr at the University of Southern California.

Thanks to a GoFundMe page set up Wednesday by another classmate and friend Melisa Williams, they were able to say goodbye to their friend.

Williams wanted to raise $1,800 to cover the pair’s travel expenses from the West Coast to Zemser’s funeral, which was scheduled for Friday morning in Hewlett, Long Island.

The goal was reached by Thursday afternoon and Williams told DNAinfo that extra funds raised will be spent on a memorial plaque to Zemser at the high school field.

Carr credits Zemser with helping him get into college – the final part of his application was due after Hurricane Sandy struck New York in 2012, leaving Carr without electricity or access to the Internet. Zemser was staying with his uncle and offered to help Carr.

“He spent maybe about three to four hours with me on the phone that night as I dictated my application to him, and he submitted on my behalf,” Carr told DNAinfo. “It’s hard to choose an exact memory because we have so many, but that one is among the top.”

In 2013, the New York Daily News profiled the three friends, along with two other students.

“We’re in this for life,” Stewart told the paper.

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