Friends and family of a Good Samaritan killed while trying to help the victims of a car crash on the Coquihalla highway are rallying in his memory.
Nicholas Funke was struck and killed by a passing vehicle as he tried to assist people who had been involved in a multi-vehicle collision just south of Merritt on Feb. 11.
The 35-year-old from Surrey was a respected horticulturist, remembered for volunteering his time and helping with fundraisers.
Indeed, friends say it is no surprise that the tragedy that cost Funke his life involved an effort to help others, describing him as a “‘shirt off his back’ kind of guy.”
“If he saw somebody that needed help, he helped,” said Kirsten Wilson, a friend of Funke’s girlfriend Tanya Jones.
“You know, I was given the information that he had gotten out of his truck and I knew immediately that he had gotten out to help,” she said.
“I knew that much about him. That was something that he sort of just, I don’t know, exuded, if that’s an okay word to use. He just left an impression on everyone he met.”
Wilson said Jones, whom she described as Funke’s “partner, soulmate, friend,” has been left devastated by the crash.
She’s now started an online fundraising campaign to help Jones cover the costs of Funke’s memorial, and to support her while she grieves.
“Losing your partner is hard enough, and having to think about, you know, finances while you’re grieving is not something that you should have to think about,” Wilson said.
“I just wanted to support her in that way, and I know that so often when there is a loss friends want to help, and they don’t know how. So I just thought this would be a way.”
Wilson said any funds left over from the campaign will be added to a horticulture scholarship being created in Funke’s name.
By Thursday evening, the fundraiser had raised more than $15,000 of it’s $20,000 goal.