FR&A Photos: Hundreds Attend Fundraiser For School Administrator, Coach, Felled By Stroke

Rodney Wilkerson arrives at the East Franklin Fire Department Dec. 9 for a fundraiser in his honor.


A school district administrator recovering from two strokes said he “felt the love” Dec. 9 when more than 200 people showed up for a fundraiser for his recovery efforts.

They packed the banquet hall at the East Franklin Fire Department headquarters on Pine Grove Avenue for Rodney Wilkerson, the dean of students at Sampson G. Smith Intermediate School. He is also a former Pine Grove Manor School teacher and assistant football coach at Franklin High School.

“Words can’t express how I’m feeling right now,” Wilkerson said as he surveyed the crowd. “I’m seeing my former students, people I’ve taught with, my former players I’ve coached; it’s just amazing what has been done.”

The event was planned by several of Wilkerson’s friends: Tim Kelly of Kelly’s Korner bar in New Brunswick – where Wilkerson was once employed – Denise DiMaria, a teaching colleague of Wilkerson’s at Pine Grove; and friends Mike and Carol Negvesky.

“He’s just an all-around great guy, he has a heart of gold,” Kelly said. “We know there’s a lot of expenses involved, he hasn’t worked in a while, so we wanted to do whatever we could to get him back on his feet again.”

Kelly said they initially planned on having the event at his bar, but its occupancy is only 84 people.

“We knew way more than that would show up, so we had it at the fire house,” he said.

Kelly said the fire department donated the use of the hall. Stage House Tavern on Amwell Road also donated some of the food, he said.

“It’s been a fabulous turnout,” he said.

Attendees were able to participate in a Tricky Tray and a 50-50 raffle.

Wilkerson said he is progressing every day. He said he is going to physical therapy three times a week.

“I’m doing great,” he said. “A victory a day, one day at a time, has been my theme.”

“All the support from everybody has played a big role in my recovery so far,” he said.

Following are some scenes from the evening.

2016 Rodney Wilkerson Fundraiser


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