Friends, family remember teen AmeriCorps volunteer killed in New Orleans

April 10, 2013 3:30:43 PM PDT
It was an emotional farewell to a young Chicago-area volunteer who was shot and killed in New Orleans last week.

Family and friends attended the funeral of 18-year-old Joseph Massenburg Wednesday.

"He said, Dad, I won't let you down,'" his father Pastor Andre Massenburg said.

Joseph Massenburg's life was celebrated as one, even at his young age, dedicated to serving others. The son of two ministers, his father remembered a time when that was not the case.

"It had gotten so bad with our son, we told our daughter when you go to school just pretend Joe isn't your brother," Andre Massenburg said.

Those days were clearly in the past though, when last week, while on a volunteer mission with AmeriCorps, Massenburg was shot and killed in New Orleans.

He was talking on his cell phone with close friend Jerome Jones when he was shot.

"He was excited to come back home on April 12. We were going to hang out. He told me somebody was driving by with a gun and he was in the middle of a sentence. The phone cut off," Jones said.

The south suburban teenager joined AmeriCorps after graduating from Rich South High School a semester early. He was in New Orleans working with Habitat for Humanity and Green Light.

Several of his AmeriCorps team members flew in for the service.

He was a good man. He came in service. He came in peace. He came to make a difference," AmeriCorps Donald Clark said.

"You were my pillar of support as for so many other that you came across and I knew I could count on you for everything," his friend from AmeriCorps Kyle Quigley said.