PORTLAND – Hundreds are expected to gather today to mourn and honor Raina Jensen, an aspiring humanitarian and world traveler who was killed in a two-car crash last week in Massachusetts. She was 27.

Ms. Jensen, a 2002 graduate of Deering High School, was remembered by her family and friends Thursday as a beautiful person who had a generous spirit and lived her life to the fullest.

She graduated from Saint Michael’s College in Vermont in May of 2006 with degrees in political science and journalism and mass communications. After college, her parents gave her a gift to go to Vorovoro, an island in Fiji, to participate in a project for Tribe Wanted, an online organization that promotes eco-tourism, philanthropy and social networking.

Her mother, Jeanette Jensen of Portland, said her daughter was one of the first 13 people to start developing the island into an eco-friendly destination.

Ms. Jensen later accepted a position in Fiji, where she worked as a liaison between the local tribe and visitors from the online community.

The project was featured by the BBC, which aired a five-part series called “Paradise or Bust.” The series has not been aired in the United States. The project was also featured in National Geographic.

“The experience changed her life,” her mother said. “She wanted to be in international development and travel to Third World countries to help people.”

Ms. Jensen spent the past few years pursuing opportunities to teach abroad.

After Fiji, she taught in Thailand for five months and received her international teaching certificate.

Most recently, she worked for Gritty McDuff’s and Arlberg Ski and Sport Shop in Freeport, and for North Hampton Brewery in North Hampton, Mass.

She moved recently to Springfield, Mass., to live with her boyfriend, David Robillard, a Springfield police officer.

Before dawn on Nov. 25, she, Robillard and three other people were returning home from a concert when the 2002 Nissan Altima they were riding in was struck by a 2000 Jeep Grand Cherokee driven by Joshua Lacroix, 24, of Ware, Mass. Ms. Jensen died at the scene.

Lacroix was charged with motor vehicle homicide while drunk, according to police.

Later that day, Jeanette Jensen visited the scene of the accident, in Wilbraham, Mass.

“I’m a mother. I needed to see where she last was,” she said. “Her friend made a cross and placed it at the scene. He put sunflowers there. They were Raina’s favorite. … It hasn’t hit me yet. I’m still in shock.”

Ms. Jensen’s godmother, Karen Alling of Portland, said she had a beautiful personality and an adventurous spirit.

“She was so full of life and was always smiling,” Alling said. “This is the worst tragedy I have ever experienced in my life. My heart has been torn right out of my chest.”

Robillard, who was Ms. Jensen’s boyfriend for four years, said they met at a Fourth of July party in Vermont in 2006. Soon after, they started dating. He said they enjoyed hiking and mountain biking, and once went swimming with sharks in Fiji.

“We talked about getting married,” he said. “I sit up at night needing to talk to someone about her. She was the one person I talked to about everything.”

Ms. Jensen’s Facebook page was flooded Thursday with messages from her friends.

Erin Robillard, her boyfriend’s sister, wrote: “You made me see the best in myself always, you inspired me to take the rough trails because I knew you would catch me if I fell. … You are my best friend and I love you so much. I will hold your hand forever and carry you in my heart wherever I go.”

Staff Writer Melanie Creamer can be contacted at 791-6361 or at:

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