Vecere was living in California and traveled to Africa on business, attending the UN Environment Assembly. He was born and raised in Sea Isle City, New Jersey. It's where his friends are remembering him as an avid surfer and a selfless volunteer.
"We should all aspire to be half of what he did and accomplished. We all talk about it, but he did it," said Brian Heritage, who owns Heritage Surf and Sport Shop. The surf shop on Landis Avenue is where Vecere spent much of his adolescence, working and hanging out.
Matt Vecere, 43 died in the Ethiopian Airlines crash.— Maggie Kent (@MaggieKent6abc) March 12, 2019
Today’s story is about how he LIVED.
He volunteered with the elderly, homeless and hungry both locally and abroad. Friends say his message would be for others to get up and help in any way possible. @6abc pic.twitter.com/yqJ1ceiRtN
John DiGenni met Vecere when he was just 8 years old. They immediately bonded and shared a life-long friendship. DiGenni describes him as a man destined to serve others. Vecere was outspoken, and backed those words up with action. He volunteered in Haiti, Mexico and southern states helping the homeless and hungry.
"Social justice, environmental justice, caring for people. Whether he knew them or not, he didn't back down," said DiGenni.