There are few names as iconic in the world of skateboarding as Tony Hawk. He paved the way for pro-skating to become the sport it is today, and though the 52-year-old isn’t spending as much time on the ramp these days, he’s making sure others can. For over 20 years, The Tony Hawk Foundation (now known as The Skatepark Project) has been helping fund skateparks across the country. Recently, Tony Hawk’s foundation gave a $10,000 grant to a little project with a lot of heart – one that means the world to a small Massachusetts community.
Frankie Fortuna was a big-hearted 19-year-old who loved skateboarding. “Frankie was the kind of kid who always looked out for the underdog,” the Frankie Fortuna Memorial Skatepark’s website explains. “He couldn’t stand bullying and would automatically take anyone under his wing who he felt could use a friend.”
On November 18, 2015, Frankie was on his way to work when a driver struck and killed him before fleeing the scene. His family was left devastated, and his community was shaken. After Frankie passed away, his family realized just how deeply the teen impacted everyone he met. Since Frankie was one of the few skateboarders in his town, he frequented the run-down local skate park – as a touching way of memorializing the young skater, Frankie’s family decided to raise money to restore his beloved skate park.
Frankie’s family set a lofty $500,000 goal to build the Frankie Fortuna Memorial Skatepark, and incredibly, they’re more than 75% of the way to their goal. Recently, the fund received a boost from an unexpected place – Tony Hawk himself. Hawk’s Skatepark Project contributed $10,000 to the touching cause, pushing Frankie’s skatepark that much closer to its ultimate goal.
With their $500,000 goal within reach, Leominster will soon be a place for young skateboarders to hone their skills. And just as importantly, it will be a place for Frankie’s loved ones to both grieve their loss and celebrate Frankie’s life. The tragedy of losing a child, a brother, and a friend is unthinkable – but Frankie will not be forgotten.
“This will be a place of healing for his friends and family,” the website explains. “And another one of Frankie’s contributions to a community he loved. His untimely passing was a tragedy but not his legacy. It is our hope that this park will bring as much joy to everyone that visits as Frankie brought to everyone who had the pleasure of knowing him.”