ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Darcy Belanger's job as an executive in the construction industry brought him to the Denver area. His volunteer work with Parvati took him to Africa. Belanger was traveling to Kenya for a meeting with government officials and volunteers Sunday when he was killed in the Ethiopian Airlines crash. All 157 people on board died.
Longtime friend and founder of the non-profit organization with her name, Parvati described Belanger as a brother.
“We were very, very close. [I'm] very emotional just even thinking about that. He had this incredibly big heart and he had this enthusiasm for what he did. He was just so all-in," Parvati said.
Parvati is dedicated to a creating a healthy planet while eliminating hunger and poverty.
Belanger helped write an international treaty to protect the Arctic. He flew on his own time to promote the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary, or MAPS.
“The treaty declares the Arctic Ocean off limits to commercialization, industrializations and militarization," he said.
Parvati said the organization referred to Belanger as its "quarterback."
“His title was the director of strategic initiatives, but he was a force of nature. We are a team of volunteers. He was a volunteer, we are all volunteers. You rally around your quarterback, right?” said Parvati.
Belanger's friends and colleagues are now rallying around his family. He leaves behind a wife in Colorado, while his sisters and extended family are in Canada. They say as painful as his loss is, they are dedicated to continuing the work he was so passionate about.
“I feel him in my heart. I feel him. I know it would be his deepest wish to not see his tragic loss as an end but as a spark and continuum," said Parvati.
Belanger's family is accepting donations to Parvati online.AlertMe