On Sunday, April 29th Jonel Gonzalez, Hermano of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (Beta Gamma Chapter, Spring 2012), suffered a devastating loss when his mother, sister, aunt, two young cousins and both grandparents (7 in total) were involved in a fatal car accident in Bronx, New York. Fraternity members started on online donation campaign with the hopes to raise enough money for proper funeral services for all seven family members. In the three days since the campaign began, the brothers have raised approximately $125,000 and counting.
Jonel’s family was on its way home to celebrate the arrival of the grandparents from the Dominican Republic and his sister’s upcoming First Communion. The SUV his mother was driving suddenly flipped over a barrier of the Bronx River Parkway at the edge of the road and plunged into a section of the Bronx Zoo. The cause of the crash, which happened around 12:30 p.m., was unclear according to officials.
Upon learning of the tragic accident Hermanos Keith Garcia, Lizardo Uribe and Gianni Marci quickly began local efforts in order to assist our fellow Hermano in his time of need. An online donation campaign was started on PayPal.com and WePay.com for Hermanos to help ease the financial burden that comes with funeral services for 7 family members. Through the power of social media Jonel and his family received an unprecedented amount of support and donations not only from Hermanos, but a national community as well. In only three days of the #SupportJoelGonzalez and #ForTheLove campaign, the fraternity has been able to raise approximately $125,000 surpassing their initial goal of $100,000.
“We based our goal on what the average cost of a funeral can be,” Garcia said. “We also have to take into account that the family is not based in New York City, they have relatives in the Dominican Republic, and the grandparents were from there – transporting the bodies to the D.R. is going to cost more.”
The national leadership of La Unidad Latina, Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity, Inc. (LUL) have also made a generous donation to Hermano Jonel’s family and has assisted with all current local efforts.
“Through this emotional time, we have been extremely touched by the generosity and support toward our organization, and most importantly, Jonel and his family,” said Mario Rivera, Chairman of the Board of Trustees. “On behalf of La Unidad Latina, I humbly thank you for walking next to us during this tough time,” added Mr. Rivera.
The national support was especially plentiful from that of the National Association of Latino Fraternal Organizations (NALFO) board and it’s members. “Almost every President has contacted me, expressed their condolences, and pledged a national donation, as well as promising to pass the message on to their memberships,” said Manuel Cabrera, National Council President of LUL.
The services arranged for the Gonzalez family are as follows:
- The Wake will be taking place at Parkchester Funeral Home located at 1430 Unionport Road, Bronx, NY 10462 on Thursday May 3rd from 4pm-9pm.
- The Funeral will be taking place at St. Raymond’s Church located at 1759 Castle Hill Ave., Bronx, NY 10462 (between East Tremont and Castle Hill) on Friday May 4th at 9:45am.
All Hermanos are encouraged to wear their fraternal Arm Band in solidarity and support for Hermano Jonel Gonzalez even if they are not able to attend the wake or funeral services.
The support of Hermanos and the community nationwide is giving Jonel strength to carry on. “I will never be able to express how grateful my family and I are,” Gonzalez said. “Throughout all the sorrow and darkness, this support is the only light I see.”
For more information or to make a donation and continue your support please visit the official website www.SupportJonel.com