Sameer Nevarez had a thirst for life and an infectious smile that could light up a room, loved ones said.
The 18-year-old Burbank resident dreamt of becoming a wealthy businessman to support his mother and family, said his friend and boss David Leach.
Every day, Nevarez rode his skateboard six miles from his home to catch a longer train ride to Anaheim, where he worked with Leach.
“He wanted nothing more than to succeed and be successful,” Leach said.
Tragically, Nevarez’s life was cut short, when he and four friends died Sept. 28 in a fiery car crash in Burbank.
On Saturday, dozens of friends and family gathered Saturday morning in North Hollywood to mourn the loss and remember Nevarez’s life. Many mourners wore white and donned commemorative shirts, which displayed a smiling Nevarez.
Nineteen white doves — a symbolism of his upcoming birthday and a representative of peace and farewell — were released as loved ones looked on outside the funeral home.
The last text message Nevarez sent to Leach was saying that he would see him in couple of days.
Leach had planned to accompany Nevarez to a U.S. Army recruit office, where he had planned to take an exam. Nevarez wanted to join the Army and wasn’t planning to tell anyone, except for his family, Leach told mourners during the funeral service.
Nevarez’s death, he said, has left some loved ones hurt or angry. But he told mourners that they needed to ask themselves, “Where the value of life remains?”
Leach added, “It’s not in that box…it’s in our heart and in our mind.”
He would be best remembered by his “wonderful and amazing smile,” family member Hector Nevarez said.
“He was the kind of person everybody wanted to know and everybody wanted to be friends with,” he added.
Friend Andre Navarro told those who attended the funeral that Nevarez was a leader. While Nevarez was younger than him, Navarro said he looked up to him.
He urged mourners to stay strong and make Nevarez proud.
“I hope the loss of these five lives saves thousands more,” Navarro said.
-- Veronica Rocha, email@example.com