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.

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"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."

"Frank knows everyone in town," Memorial Middle School Science teacher Erin Glassen said. "He knows the history of every child that comes through our building and treats them all with love and respect. He takes off nights from work at the high school to attend sporting events, plays and fundraisers for our students. It is unbelievable the way he can do much for so many people and never need anything in return. He is constantly thinking about others, as shown in the texts he sends every holiday!" 
 
Newly-appointed Memorial Middle School Principal Brian Kitchin echoed Glassen's words of praise for Luongo.
 
"Frank is the type of guy who makes an immediate impact on everyone he meets," Kitchin said. "In just a couple short months I have had the chance to see what a beloved figure he is in Spotswood. Standing out at morning drop off together there is not a car that passes without a huge smile when they see Frank there to greet their child."

 
Memorial Middle School Language Arts teacher Adrienne Hansen described Luongo as the most "selfless" person she's ever met.
 
"Frank is the heart of Memorial Middle School," Hansen continued. "He is our go-to-guy for EVERYTHING. He is the first to lend a hand, to offer a word of encouragement and to warmly welcome new staff/students. You will never find Frank without a smile. He loves Memorial and his Spotswood family."
 
Luongo has been a integral part of the Spotswood community for the past 44 years. Donations can be made via the "Frank Luongo Needs Us" GoFundMe page.
 
Shkolar and Bromberg would both like to thank the community for their support of Luongo's plight. The pair is hopeful that the campaign will reach their goal of $15,000.