Peace Corps Mourns the Loss of Volunteer David Ripley
WASHINGTON, D.C., April 2, 2015 – Peace Corps Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet is saddened to confirm the death of Peace Corps volunteer David Ripley. David, 29, passed away while visiting Tanzania on March 31, 2015.
“David was a deeply compassionate and empathetic person, which in turn made him an extraordinary Peace Corps volunteer,” Hessler-Radelet said. “He was committed to putting his experience to work improving the lives of those in his community of service, and was seen as a leader among his fellow volunteers. We are devastated by his loss, and the thoughts and prayers of the entire Peace Corps family are with the Ripley family during this difficult time.”
A native of Palmetto, Fla., David served as a health volunteer in Rwanda. He worked at community health centers and read books to children regularly at the Kigali Reading Center. He was passionate about using technology to deliver clean water to his community, and was making great progress.
Peace Corps staff in Rwanda remember David as positive and caring, and someone who was respected by his colleagues and Peace Corps staff. They said that David was “dedicated to helping the people of Rwanda and took his service seriously.”
In his Peace Corps aspiration statement, David wrote, “I hope to give as much as I plan to gain from all the relationships I make during my commitment to Rwanda and the Peace Corps.” He wrote, “understanding and compassion for other peoples’ life experiences, views and circumstances are paramount in building any personal or professional relationships.”
David was committed to serving others. Prior to Peace Corps, he worked as a charge paramedic and earned certifications as a paramedic/EMT and a firefighter in his home state of Florida. He graduated cum laude from Saint Petersburg College in Saint Petersburg, Fla.
He is survived by his parents, Bruce and June Ripley and his brother Barry Ripley.
Palmetto Peace Corps Volunteer Died of Aneurysm
The Palmetto Peace Corps volunteer who died while visiting Tanzania succumbed to a heart condition, according to his family.
David Ripley, 29, a trained paramedic who was assigned to work in Rwanda, died Tuesday from an aneurysm, his father, Bruce Ripley, said Saturday.
“They said it was a weak spot in his arteries,” he said. “It was out of clear blue.”
The news came to a shock to the family; David Ripley had never demonstrated issues with his heart.
His son had been in Tanzania visiting with the Peace Corps, Bruce Ripley.
“It was a little bit of vacation and a little bit of meetings,” he said. “I think they like to take them to fun places.”
His son would describe his good fortune to his father in an unique manner, Bruce Ripley recalled.
“He was one of the lucky ones; he had a bathroom,” he said.
Now the family is gathering with friends and awaiting the arrival of David Ripley’s girlfriend, also a Peace Corps volunteer in Rwanda, and a representative from the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C. They are expected to all gather Monday to finalize memorial services.
The service will be Saturday, someplace local, Bruce Ripley said.
Meanwhile, his family has been overwhelmed with the outpouring of love and support from family, friends and the community, he said.
“He’s touched so many lives,” Bruce Ripley said of his son. “What he accomplished in five to seven months, he ran circles.”
He made all his friends dream bigger, he added.
Now those closest to him want to make sure the good work he started is completed.
In order to do so, the Peace Corps has set up the David Ripley Memorial Fund. Bruce Ripley said David’s girlfriend plans to return to Rwanda to finish his projects, and he is asking that, in lieu of flowers, people donate to the fund.
All donations to the David Ripley Memorial Fund will support approved Peace Corps Partnership Program projects which focus on health in Rwanda.
Rest in peace David!
My name is Arielle Webb, a future Peace Corps Guatemala Volunteer. My sincere condolences go out to David’s family, friends, and girlfriend. He seemed to be an exemplary volunteer and human being, one that all current and future volunteers can aspire toward. I am glad that his work is being sustained and his life celebrated and remembered.