Pinelands Track Squad, National Honor Society Team Up for Manahawkin Family

Gregory and Maryann Levine Hurt in Accident
By DAVID BIGGY | Mar 13, 2019

Amy Martelli and Holly Egan may be part of the staff in the Pinelands Regional School District, but helping a family in Stafford Township was close to their hearts. Now they’re not only asking the Pinelands community to get on board, the invitation is open to anybody interested.

“It’s been several months since their accident and the Levine family is very much in need of help,” said Martelli, a friend of Maryann Levine, who along with her husband, Gregory, recently sustained multiple injuries in a car accident. Maryann had to have both legs amputated.

“Maryann has a long road ahead of her, with a lot of rehab in her future to go along with making changes to their home to make it handicap accessible. So this is not a short-term problem. They’re going to be in need of help for a long time, probably for years.”

While several groups within the Southern Regional district – the Levines’ two children, Sarah and Michael, are Southern graduates – already had begun fundraising efforts to help the family, Martelli and Egan decided to partner the Pinelands National Honor Society and girls track and field program in a joint effort to also help out.

“We have a lot of teachers who live in Stafford and know the family, so we wanted to join forces and do what we can to help,” Egan said. “We found a day on the calendar that was good for all of what we wanted to do, and now the goal is to raise as much as possible to help the family as they start to recover.”

On Wednesday, March 27, the two groups are asking other clubs and sports programs to participate in “Love the Levines.” The day will feature several initiatives to raise funds, starting with a dress down and crazy hat day within the district, during which teachers can donate $3 to dress down for the day and students can donate $1 during their homerooms for permission to wear a wacky hat around the building.

After school, Pinelands students can join the girls track and NHS groups for a run-a-thon, for which students can gather flat-amount, per-lap pledges from generous supporters and hand in their fundraising haul before stepping onto the school’s new track. The run-a-thon is scheduled from 2:30 to 3 p.m.

In the evening, beginning at 6 p.m., families and students – even those connected to other school districts in the area – are encouraged to eat at Mickey’s Port of Call, 327 East Main St., Tuckerton, and the restaurant will donate 10 percent of all food sales to the cause.

“The run-a-thon is just for Pinelands students,” Egan said. “But anybody can go to Mickey’s that night and have dinner in support of the Levine family. It doesn’t matter who shows up to Mickey’s, all they have to do is say they’re there to help with our fundraiser and the restaurant will set aside 10 percent of that bill for our cause.”

Still, while Pinelands is doing its own thing to raise money to help the family, Martelli said other school districts are able to help by having their own dress down/crazy hat day, or their own version of  run-a-thon. Anybody interested in doing something similar can contact Martelli via email at amartelli@prsdnj.org to make arrangements.

“It would be great to get other schools involved, and all they have to do is contact me to find out how we can work it all out,” Martelli said. “All the funds raised that day are going to help the family with their medical needs, and every little bit helps. I recently talked to Maryann and she’s very thankful for all the support.”

Martelli specifically pointed out that Maryann intends to return home as soon as she can, and even hopes to make it to a concert at Madison Square Garden on May 21 featuring her favorite singer, Pink, whose song “Walk Me Home” has brought heightened inspiration to Levine.

“Maryann told me ‘I’m going to walk home’ and she uses that song as an inspiration to do just that,” Martelli said. “All she wants to do at this point is get home and be able to walk in her house. That will take her having prosthetics she doesn’t have yet, and quite a lot of rehab during the next couple of months. But that’s the goal right now. We’re focusing on getting Maryann home, and helping with the cost of her medical bills. But maybe somebody will help find a way to get her to that concert, too.”

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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