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February 14, 2009        OutcomeBuffalo > News

PHOTO 2007 Amanda Brown/The Star-Ledger

Ronald Gonzalez, Gay Man, Health Educator, Among Passengers Dead in Plane Crash

BUFFALO, —Ronald Gonzalez, 44, was aboard Continental flight 3407 that crashed in Clarence Center, New York on it 's way to Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Fifty people died as the result of the crash.

Gonzalez was director of New Brunswick Tomorrow, a youth services program in New Brunswick, N.J., was flying into Buffalo to visit relatives. He previously had lived in Buffalo where he had worked for Aids Community Services as executive director of Alianza Latina and also education services director and community educator.

Gonzalez, an openly gay man, worked to educate gay youth and young adults about health and safe-sex both through his work at Aids Community services and in collaborative programs at Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York.

Gonzalez was a National Urban Fellow at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in Princeton prior to his move to New Brunswick.

The Star-Ledger of New Jersey has reports that "Gonzalez was on his way to visit family in Buffalo", according to Jeffrey Vega, president of New Brunswick Tomorrow.

Gonzalez was born and raised in New York City

The youth services program, which provides services to city schools, such as mental health counseling for students and their families, case management, youth employment, tutoring, and New Brunswick High School's Parent Infant Care Center, is part of New Brunswick Tomorrow, a private, non-profit organization.

"He wasn't somebody who had an ego. It wasn't about him, It was all about the children," said Vega. "He was dedicated to helping kids and families that were disadvantaged."

Vega said Gonzalez worked long hours, and moved three blocks from New Brunswick High School, where his office was, just to be closer.

National Transportation Safety Board officials are probing what caused the crash of flight 3407, which originated from Newark —Tim Moran

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