Fundraiser continues legacy of District No. 1 firefighter Tony Melo
The spirit and memory of a District No. 1 firefighter is living on less than two years after he lost his battle with cancer.
On July 28, friends, family, and co-workers of Tony Melo gathered at DeMello Elementary School for their second annual car wash in his honor. With all proceeds benefiting Dana Farber Cancer Institute, it’s a way to keep his legacy of service and helping others alive, explained his wife Lori Melo.
“He was always willing to so something for someone else,” added Dennis Clark, who worked with Melo at M&M Auto. “That expression ‘give the shirt off your back…’ he’d give you his whole wardrobe.”
In addition to owning M&M Auto on Dartmouth Street, Melo was also a District No. 1 firefighter. He served in the department for over 20 years, and was a Lieutenant.
Melo passed away in December 2016 from complications of myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer which creates scarring in bone marrow. In addition to his wife, he left behind three children.
Last year’s inaugural car wash raised about $2,500. In that time, the family has also participated in the South Coast Lemonade Day event and raised money with the sale of T-shirts bearing Tony’s name.
This year’s car wash is shaping up to be successful as well. At 11 a.m., a steady stream of cars kept volunteers of all ages busy. Even Dartmouth Police officers and School Department officials stopped by to get a quick clean-up.
Melo said she and her dedicated group of volunteers are also in the final steps of taking their mission to continue Tony’s legacy to the next level. They are completing the formation of the Tony Melo Charitable Fund.
Melo said the aim is to continue charitable work for Dana Farber Cancer Institute, as well as establish a scholarship fund in Tony’s honor.
Although details are still being worked out, that could include scholarships for students interested in pursuing auto-related or firefighting careers, and others in need.