SPRING LAKE — Francis “Frankie” Albert Kineavy of Sea Girt has donated $6,000 to a group at Manasquan High School [MHS], his alma mater, after being selected by the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce as its 2022 Citizen of the Year.
Every year, the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce selects a resident from the community to be the recipient of its annual Citizen of the Year award. For the first time, a non-Spring Lake resident was chosen.
Part of the honor of being selected as citizen of the year is that recipients are able to choose a charity of their choice to benefit from the annual event, said Ellen Manger, executive director of the Greater Spring Lake Chamber of Commerce. Half of the funds from the dinner are donated to a charity of the recipient’s choice.
The dinner raised $12,000, with $6,000 of that donated to a charity. Mr. Kineavy selected Vic Kubu’s Long Blue Line, a scholarship that awards money to a student athlete at MHS. The dinner was held at the Spring Lake Bath and Tennis Club in October, 2022, with over 215 people attending, according to Ms. Manger.
“It was one of our most successful citizen of the year dinners we have had in the last 12 years. Frankie is an amazing young man. He changes you after you work with him for a bit. You don’t realize what he does to people. You are just gobsmacked by him.”
Sean McCarthy, the former dean of students of MHS, said Mr. Kineavy would always be spending time with the faculty of the school, rather than going to class. “I had no choice, he was always a step ahead of me, even in a wheelchair.”
“When I heard he was donating the money that he raised to Long Blue Line, I was so proud of him because that is something that is so dear to us. We have the Long Blue Line scholarship which awards $16,000 to a student, and every year it gets a little bit harder [to raise the money], but this keeps Vic’s scholarship alive and it really helps the whole situation,” Mr. McCarthy said.
Long Blue Line is a scholarship that was initially established by Manasquan football head coach Vic Kubu in 2002 and is now carried on by the Kubu family. Mr. Kubu was Manasquan’s head football coach for 22 years. He died in August 2007.
Sharon Kubu, Mr. Kubu’s wife, explained that the recipient of the scholarship received $4,000 a year for four years, and is very grateful to Mr. Kineavy for his donation, calling him a “real hero.”
Mr. Kineavy said, “Most of my peers with disabilities say high school is the toughest time for them, but my four years here were the greatest.”
Mr. Kineavy, a lifelong resident of Sea Girt, was born with cerebral palsy. He is nonverbal but is able to speak via a communication board on his wheelchair. He was the first student who used a wheelchair and communication device to attend Sea Girt Elementary School. He helped with many sports teams during his time within the school. He would help coach Little League, as well as travel basketball, soccer and basketball teams.
While in the fourth grade, he, with help of a local father, Tom Metcalf, started the Frankie Kineavy Invitational, a recreation basketball tournament for surrounding towns. This organization would go on to donate over $30,000 to the Alexandra Rose Tozzi Memorial Foundation, whose main focus is to support organ donation awareness efforts, environmental/clean ocean efforts and to allow children in need access to educational opportunities, according to their website.
Mr. Kineavy also attended MHS, where he continued to foster friendships and help coach football, basketball and baseball throughout his time there. He also worked with another local father, Shawn Mulligan, and Rutgers men’s head basketball coach, Freddie Hall, to start the “Frankie and Freddie Skills and Drills,” a basketball camp for local children held at Rutgers University. This program raised money used to improve Sea Girt Elementary School’s fields and outdoor basketball courts, which are now named the “Frankie and Freddie” courts.
He took many AP honors classes while at MHS and graduated in 2009 with a 92 GPA on a 100 point scale.
Mr. Kineavy went on to attend Villanova University, where he served as manager under men’s head basketball coach Jay Wright.
Once at Villanova, he also helped form LEVEL, a student group formed to bridge the gap between students with various abilities and disabilities. LEVEL was featured in an award winning documentary, “Coming Off the DL,” which highlighted the work of Mr. Kineavy and a friend of his, Nick Gaynor. LEVEL also was featured on ESPN’s “Gameday,” a pre-show for many college level sports ESPN covers.
After graduating from Villanova, Mr. Kineavy worked at Rutgers University for a year, writing content for the athletic department’s website. He then moved on to DiversityInc, a diversity data platform and media ecosystem, where he wrote articles for their website regarding inclusion in the workplace.
He continues to coach football and baseball on a local level, and last spring, he was hired as head coach of the Bradley Beach Elementary baseball team and is currently assistant offensive coordinator for Robbinsville High School varsity football team.
Mr. Kineavy currently works on a number of projects and endeavors including an employment agency, called Let’s Be Frank, that works to help people with disabilities and veterans.
He is also working on a TV pilot called “First Aid,” which is about a confident but sheltered man who moves to New York City to try to make a life in a city not built for him, according to Mr. Kineavy.
Mr. Kineavy has also branched into the world of motivational speaking and is involved with local politics in Sea Girt. Last year, he also testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on disability and inclusion in the workplace.
While not working, Mr. Kineavy can be found in coffee shops in Spring Lake and Sea Girt, along with lounging on the beaches with his friends, cruising on the boardwalk and enjoying nightlife at his father’s former restaurant of 40 years, Rod’s Tavern, as well as The Parker House and The Columns.