SPOTSWOOD, NJ - A familiar face has been noticeably absent from the Memorial Middle School for the past two weeks. Frank Luongo has not been in his usual spot greeting students and parents at the morning drop off. For Spotswood and Helmetta parents, Memorial Middle School teachers and staff, Frank, as he's affectionately known, is a vital element of the sixth through eighth grade school's heart and soul. Luongo is described as the school's "go-to guy." Whether it's giving kids and parents a reassuring smile in the morning, helping students understand the complexities of locker combinations or simply being a sounding board to a student having an awful day, Luongo is there.
Complications with diabetes has kept Lugono away from a position he's held in the Memorial Middle School since 2007. Luongo provides security for the Memorial Middle School as well as working in maintenance for Memorial and Spotswood High School. However, to teachers, staff, students and parents, Luongo is much more.
A partial foot amputation due to a severe infection means the Spotswood School District employee will be out of work for a while recuperating and rehabilitating from the surgery. When his plight came to the attention of the Memorial Middle School staff, the teachers sprang into action. The avid biker and outdoor enthusiast does not have disability insurance. To assist Luongo and his family with the mounting medical costs, a GoFundMe page has been set up. The page was created by Memorial Middle School nurse, Katherine Shkolar and Memorial Middle School Math teacher, Stefanie Bromberg. In three days, the page has raised more than $6,000.
"Frank is the kindest person we have had the privilege of working with," Shkolar and Bromberg said. "No task is too big, from cleaning our cars in a snow storm to getting the students safely to their classes."