CHICAGO — The Chicago native killed in a terrorist attack in Afghanistan Friday night was remembered as a driven and passionate community servant, as news of her death reached the United States.
Lexie Kamerman, a 2004 Latin School of Chicago graduate who excelled at water polo, was among 21 people killed in an attack on a popular restaurant in Kabul by the Taliban.
Kamerman, 27, worked at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul, where she was a student development specialist, and helped Afghan women seeking to earn an education, a friend said.
"She just had a wonderful zeal for trying to help others better themselves," said Sherrille Lamb, who first met Kamerman after she began working at Elon College in North Carolina in 2011. "It's rare to see somebody that really cares about helping others without getting anything out of it."
Before heading to Afghanistan in June, Kamerman also worked for the Collegiate Water Polo Association, earned a master's degree in higher education at the University of Arizona and played water polo at Knox College in Galesburg.
Lamb said Kamerman was aware of the risks of traveling to a dangerous place like Afghanistan, and had previously done volunteer work in Africa.
"She was excited about the prospect of helping young ladies," she said. "She was a pretty adventurous kid."
The pair bonded over Chicago - Lamb used to live in Wicker Park - and "we would laughingly make comments about the differences between North Carolinians and Chicagoans," Lamb said.
They texted and emailed while Kamerman was abroad, most recently when Kamerman was home for the holidays.
"She really seemed to love it. She was super-passionate about it, and always had nothing but positive things to say about her experience," Lamb said.
"She touched me as a person," Lamb said. "I know she had to have touched many other people."
Kamerman's family called her"an amazing young woman – smart, strong, beautiful, funny, stubborn and kind" in a statement.
The White House condemned the attack in which a suicide bomber preceded a mass shooting of the popular Kabul restaurant favored by foreigners, killing 21.
"There is no possible justification for this attack, which has killed innocent civilians, including Americans, working every day to help the Afghan people achieve a better future with higher education and economic assistance at the American University, United Nations, International Monetary Fund and other organizations," said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
He called on the Taliban to join in peace talks.