Neighbors of a deceased Navy veteran from Jamaica are seeking donations to help cover his funeral expenses.
Frank Shemenski, 57, of Parsons Boulevard was found at his home days after leaving the hospital, where he was being treated for a long-term illness, according to neighbor Amy Anderson.
Anderson said Shemenski will be buried Friday with honors at Calverton National Cemetery, a military cemetery in Suffolk County on Long Island.
Anderson and other community activists are asking that people send donations to the Jerard J. Neufeld Funeral Home in Elmhurst to help offset the costs of his casket, and transportation to the funeral home and cemetery.
“I visited him in the hospital last week,” Anderson said. “... I decided if I had to ask 2,000 people to donate $1, that’s what I would do.”
She said Shemenski was a good neighbor, citing as an example problems they had with a former landlord. “You could always count on him,” she said. “Just the nicest guy.”
Anderson and her landlord each have kicked in $100. She also has contacted neighbors, area businesses and even the Queens Borough President’s Office, and thus far has raised nearly $500.
“Frank and his girlfriend had no money, and he had no life insurance,” Anderson said. “I started to reach out.”
Donna Clopton, chairwoman of the 103rd Precinct’s Community Council, posted information on the internet.
So to did Joe Moretti, another Jamaica community activist, on his blog and website cleanupjamaicaqueens.wordpress.com.
Anderson said Joe Neufeld of the funeral home set many of her financial concerns aside when she made inquiries, but that the fundraising appeal is aimed at paying the funeral home in full.
“He contacted the Veterans Administration, and explained that the VA paid for the grave and headstone,” she said. “They also said he would receive military honors. [Neufeld] was wonderful,” she said.
Anderson said there initially was talk about Shemenski’s desire to be cremated, but that she was told it is not permitted in cases where no family members have been located. Neufeld said burial is the best option for now.
“He was an honorably discharged veteran. He is entitled to the grave and headstone,” Neufeld said Tuesday. “Why cremate him when, if family members show up in two years, he will be buried in a place of honor rather than in an unmarked grave or potter’s field?”
Donations can be sent to Jerard J. Neufeld Funeral Home Inc., 88-04 43 Ave., Elmhurst, NY 11373, Attn: Frank Joseph Shemenski Fundraiser.
Donations can be sent to
Jerard J. Neufeld Funeral Home Inc.,
88-04 43 Ave., Elmhurst, NY 11373,
Attn: Frank Joseph Shemenski Fundraiser.