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Girlfriend of Lantana man murdered thanks community for generosity

Posted at 7:31 PM, Jul 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-28 19:31:01-04

A Palm Beach County family experienced the best and worst of humanity this month.

Justin VanMeter died in what the sheriff’s office described as a robbery turned shooting. Since that deadly night, the community has rallied to help his family.

The 28-year-old left behind a girlfriend and 4-month-old son named Ethan.

Days after his death, his former boss held a fundraiser at the restaurant where VanMeter worked. Other organizations collected donations of money, baby toys and clothes.

Now the family has so many diapers, the stack nearly reaches the ceiling.

Plus donations covered the entire cost of VanMeter’s funeral.

His girlfriend said the help restores her faith in humanity.

“I felt so rich, not with money or materials, but so rich with love from everyone who came out to donate. It was amazing,” Sam Luzenko explained.

VanMeter’s former boss said he didn’t expect so much help from total strangers. 

“A lot of people stepped up, people we’ve never met or saw before wrote checks and made donations. It was very gratifying,” Jim Guilbeault, the owner of Gilby’s Restaurant.

Luzenko believes VanMeter is looking down with a grateful smile to see the community help his family.

PBSO arrested two people they say killed VanMeter three weeks ago.