NEW MILFORD, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A grief-stricken community bid a final farewell to a New Jersey man killed in the Halloween Day terror attack in New York City.
Mourners gathered Monday for Darren Drake‘s funeral at the Church of the Ascension in New Milford.
Five Argentinian men on a high school reunion trip were also killed, plus a mother of two from Belgium and a 23-year-old from Greenwich Village.
Drake earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at Rutgers University in 2007 and a master’s degree in business administration in 2011 from Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was working toward a second master’s degree, at Stevens Institute of Technology.
He previously served as president of the New Milford school board.
Drake is being remembered as a gentle giant. He was 6’4″ tall but he had a soft touch, friends and family say.
“He was just a great kid, absolutely fantastic,” one mourner said. “Did everything he could for other kids, he followed in the footsteps of others and I know he loved the Lord upstairs very much.”
His best friend was his dad, Jimmy Drake.
“He was perhaps one of the most decent American young kids that our country has ever produced,” his father said.
As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, even strangers showed up to pay their respects.
“I’m a parishioner and I felt to be there, it’s so sad,” one person said.
One family friend hoped and prayed that the violence would come to an end.
“This terrorism cannot happen anymore, it can’t happen anymore,” Vincent Wymbs said.
Drake will be laid to rest next to his grandparents. His family said he would have been celebrating his 33rd birthday soon.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)