Jersey Shore native killed in Ethiopian Airlines crash remembered as ‘selfless’

Matt Vecere, 43, was flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya to attend to the UN Environment Assembly. (Image courtesy of IQAir)

Matt Vecere, 43, was flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya to attend to the UN Environment Assembly. (Image courtesy of IQAir)

A Jersey Shore native who died when an Ethiopian Airlines jet crashed last Sunday is being remembered as a compassionate man who devoted his life to helping those in need.

Matt Vecere, 43, was flying from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to Nairobi, Kenya to attend to the UN Environment Assembly for the first time, his family said in a statement.

“Matt will be missed by many. We are heartbroken more than words can express,” the statement said.

A statement from his employer, IQAir, noted that the Cape May County native was “an amazing writer, an avid surfer, and a truly selfless person.”

“We will miss his laugh, his wit, his sense of humor, but most of all, the kinship and friendship that he brought to everything he did,” it continued.

Vecere’s family said he served various causes and responded to disaster areas to make a “tangible difference,” including numerous trips to Haiti that began after the devastating earthquake in January 2010.

“Matt was passionate about the environment, civil rights, social and environmental justice, and advocating for those less fortunate,” the family statement said.

A devoted surfer, Vecere was remembered by Heritage Surf Shop owner Brian Heritage in a social media post.

“Shock and ultimately sadness has fallen over the South Jersey community as Matt not only was an outstanding surfer but an even better human being,” he wrote.

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