The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville community is mourning the loss of junior nursing student Moneer Damra, of Chicago, who passed away Wednesday morning, Jan. 27 at Barnes Jewish Medical Center in St. Louis. The 26-year-old suffered injuries in a random act of gun violence off-campus on Jan. 14.
A member of the SIUE ROTC program, Damra’s goal was to become an Army nurse.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with Moneer Damra’s family and friends as they attempt to deal with this inexplicable tragedy,” said SIUE Chancellor Randy Pembrook. “From all that I know, Moneer was filled with so much potential, had such a big heart and made a positive impact on everyone around him. His passing is absolutely heartbreaking.”
Friends and fellow students have described Damra as a “beautiful soul, compassionate, a good motivator,” and a friend they could “count on for encouragement and positivity.” At the time of the incident, KMOV-TV posted a story describing Damra’s life journey at kmov.com.
“Moneer was intelligent and curious about nursing—and took advantage of every opportunity to ask questions and learn how to be a nurse,” said Amy Kief, instructor in the School of Nursing, who taught his first professional nursing course. “He was a very outgoing young man, who always asked about how I was doing. I will always remember him as kind and compassionate toward everyone.”
Lieutenant Col. Timothy Clark, SIUE ROTC professor of military science, said Damra possessed the uncommon balance of compassion and drive. “He would fiercely compete against his previous best effort, and against you, but he would also encourage you,” Clark said. “He was absolutely committed to his friends and would do anything for them or with them. Moneer didn’t just make you want to be better; somehow he actually made you better. When a person brings that culture to a group, it’s a beautiful thing to see.
“Those of us a little older and jaded sometimes embrace the falsehood that one person can’t make a difference, but Moneer disproved that daily. All that matters to us is you are dependable, show up and do your best. He did his best day-in, day-out and eventually was recognized as one of our best.”
More details about funeral arrangements and an SIUE memorial service will be communicated as they become available.
The following is a list of resources available to members of the campus community:
- To support acceptance, coping, and grieving, short-term options are available through Counseling Services, co-located with Health Services in the lower level of the Student Success Center (adjacent to the Morris University Center), suite 0222, by calling x-2842. Psychotherapists are available for the following:
- Crisis Support
- Individual Therapy
- Attend on-campus memorial events
- Facilitate group, classroom, or team discussions/debriefings
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741 to access a trained crisis counselor
- Psychoeducational Materials
Local Community Resources