Perspective — Matt LoNigro: Remember him by paying it forward

Perspective — Matt LoNigro: Remember him by paying it forward

File photo
Marianne Cartisano. File photo
By Marianne Cartisano

On Thursday, May 11, I woke up to the realization that I, like hundreds of people across Long Island, had lost a great friend in Matt LoNigro, a popular youth lacrosse coach and community leader from Miller Place. He was a man of many contradictions and contributions. He advocated loud, yet did his service work quietly. He loved hard, yet reflected softly.

In Matt’s untimely and too-soon passing there are no answers to why and how come? We are left with huge voids in our communities across Nassau and Suffolk schools, youth leagues and charitable organizations. Following Matt’s example of how to live life will not be easy, but it is possible if we pay it forward.

In honor of Matt’s love of youth sports, we can show up 15 minutes early for practices/games and help the coach set up the lacrosse, soccer or baseball field. We can help organize the pizza dinner, picture day or uniform handout.

In honor of Matt’s dedication to community we can create a raffle basket for a local fundraising event.

In honor of Matt’s commitment to service we can work with our neighbors to fill a few grocery bags and drop them off at a local food pantry.

In honor of Matt’s loyalty to mentor those who are currently challenged, or in recovery, we can donate hygiene products, paper goods or towels to a local support facility or organization.

In honor of Matt’s love of family, we will not forget them. There are a lot of LoNigros who are in shock and devastated by his passing. Connecting with them, however we are most comfortable, will help them through this horror.

Keeping Matt’s legacy alive is easy if we all take the time to pay it forward.

Matt, your life was filled with those that love you from here to the heavens. My hope is that you felt that love while you were with us and beyond.

Rest in peace, Matt, but watch over us — we got you. 

Marianne Cartisano is a former superintendent of schools of Miller Place school district.