By Fernanda Martinez
Days after a 29-year-old delivery man was killed in a hit-and-run at the intersection of 99th & Amsterdam, a neighbor has organized a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for the repatriation of his remains.
Last Saturday, September 11, José García Gómez was pronounced dead at Mt. Sinai Hospital after being hit by a car while on his way home after a shift delivering food. The driver, who fled the scene, is still at large and NYPD has no leads on this case, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
Kerri Gawryn, a neighbor of the Upper West Side, has organized a GoFundMe campaign to help raise money for various funeral costs, including the repatriation of García Gómez’s remains. “I saw the story on the West Side Rag, and I just felt terrible,” she said. “People were walking by like nothing had happened. I felt like there had to be something to honor this person who had died right outside the building where we live,” Gawryn said.
On Monday, Gawryn saw a group of delivery workers who had gathered at the site of the incident to pay their respects and ask pedestrians for donations, and pledged to help. She started a GoFundMe campaign that same day and has raised upwards of $4,000 so far.
Originally from Veracruz, Mexico, García Gómez had been living in Washington Heights and working as a food delivery person for the last two years. He was the sole breadwinner for his family—a wife and three children: two daughters aged 10 and 8, and a three-year-old son—all of whom are back in Mexico.
His brother, Mateo, tells the Rag that García Gómez’s dream was to improve his family’s living conditions in Mexico. “My brother’s dream was to build a house for his family [back in Mexico]. Unfortunately, he died before he could do it,” he said.
Mateo is urging the community to donate as little as a dollar to help return his brother’s body to Mexico, either through Gawry’s GoFundMe or through a similar campaign started by a friend of the family who is leading the repatriation effort. Donations can also be made through Zelle or Quickpay in care of José Domingo Jerónimo at 646-496-7245.
Any surplus after covering funeral and repatriation costs will go to García Gómez’s wife and children to help get them back on their feet, he said.
The family is also inviting any members of the community who wish to attend García Gómez’s memorial to join them this Friday, September 17 at 5PM at the Rivera Funeral Home (1260 St. Nicholas Ave 10033). Covid-19 precautions will be taken, including mandatory masking.