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Community rallies behind family of beloved crossing guard who died

A beloved crossing guard is being remembered by the community following his death.

News 12 Staff

Jan 5, 2022, 3:15 AM

Updated 896 days ago


A beloved crossing guard is being remembered by the community following his death.
The family of Melvin Smith says that COVID-19 played a role in the 46-year-old’s death.
Smith was stationed outside of Sisters Academy of New Jersey in Asbury Park.
"He was always really nice and looking out for us and I can say that for sure because he would definitely look out for us, he helped us cross the street,” says seventh grader Tamara Hayward.
Smith died last week from cardiac arrest. He was described as an imposing man with a sweetheart personality. He and his wife met as children, but got together later in life.
“What I remember of Melvin is those dimples, that smile and the way he just spoke to me,” says Smith’s wife Toni Thomas-Smith.
Thomas-Smith is also a crossing guard nearby.
Nearly two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, New Jersey continues to report a high number of COVID-related deaths. State officials confirmed 79 new deaths on Tuesday. Even those who are vaccinated and take precautions can still fall victim to the virus.
“I met Melvin the very first day I got here,” says former Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno.
Guadagno is the executive director of Mercy Center, which runs the school.
"Melvin literally asked me to roll down my window. He introduced himself, shook my hand and he had the biggest smile. And he said, ‘I will take care of these girls,’” Guadagno says.
The community is now trying to raise money to give Smith a proper burial. A GoFundMe page has raised more than $2,700.

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