High school students rally around grieving security guard privateofficer.com #PrivateOfficerNews

FLUSHING March 6 2017 An incredible show of support for a staff member of a local high school after the tragic death of his wife.

Students have raised more than $18,000 in one day, rallying around Gene “Gino” O’Kelly. He’s a security guard who has looked out for students there for decades.

“I felt really bad. He’s always been here for us and it’s time for us to be here for him,” said student Kayla Palmer.

For more than 20 years, he’s helped out, getting to know the kids and becoming a confidant for former students like Sam Rendon.

“He was there for me all four years, even when I moved away and stuff and came back. He was right there helping me out,” Rendon said.

Principal Jason Melynchek says a student anonymously launched a GoFundMe page after O’Kelly’s wife died Wednesday morning. They surpassed their $12,000 goal within a day. The gesture has touched the hearts of Flushing residents.

“They’re looking at someone else other than just themselves or the people who they’re involved in directly,” said resident Beth McCulloch.

Although dealing with his own grief, O’Kelly has taken the time to send a message of gratitude through Melynchek.

“He just wanted to thank everyone for the support from the community, the staff and students, you know, just during hard times and this means the world to him.”
WABC12