WASHINGTON, D.C., August 24, 2005 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today with deep sadness the death of Stephen Lotti, a 28-year old Peace Corps volunteer who recently completed his service in Bolivia. Stephen and his mother Sheera Young died as the result of a plane crash on Tuesday, August 23, outside the airport of Pucallpa in Peru.
“The deaths of Stephen Lotti and his mother are a terrible loss for the Peace Corps family,” said Director Vasquez. “Stephen was an outstanding volunteer dedicated to his work and the people in his community. His leadership skills and passion for improving the lives of others were admired by the people he worked with in San Antonio de Lomerio.”
Stephen began his service in the Peace Corps on May 14, 2003. A resident of Fayetteville, Ga., and a graduate of the University of Georgia in Athens, he served as a volunteer in San Antonio de Lomerio in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Working with the municipal government, Stephen initiated a program to install rainwater catchment systems and latrines using creative technology and environmentally sound designs. While he was a water and sanitation volunteer, Stephen also found time to work with the local schools on health and environmental education.
In his aspiration statement, Stephen wrote: “My strategy for adapting to a new culture is to relax and to be patient. Instead of trying to get everything right from the beginning, I want to try to learn from my mistakes. I want to be part of the community, instead of an outside observer.”
Stephen completed his Peace Corps service on July 15, 2005 and had not yet returned to the U.S. His mother had traveled to Bolivia to visit the community he served and dedicated two years of his life.
Stephen is survived by his father, David Lotti, one brother, and two sisters. Peace Corps Bolivia is planning a memorial service in honor of Stephen for volunteers and staff.
“The Peace Corps family is deeply saddened by Stephen’s death. The staff and his friends in Bolivia have referred to Stephen as dedicated, sweet and hard working,” Director Vasquez said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as we offer our condolences.”