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Community shows support for local teacher
Shelba Kieffer greets potential donors at the bone marrow donor registry drive at Ebenezer Middle School Thursday. - photo by Photo by Sandi Van Orden

Community members came to Ebenezer Middle School on Thursday to support Anthony Mastrianni by joining the national bone marrow donor registry.

Cynthia Knight, assistant coordinator for exceptional children, said she came because she has known Mastrianni for years.

“He’s a wonderful teacher, loves the kids, would do anything for anyone,” Knight said.

She said she also was thinking about herself and her family.

“We never know when we’re going to be sick and need help,” she said, “and I just want to go out and do what I can for the folks in the community who need help that I might need one day.”

Scott McDonald said he came because his daughter is a student at EMS and asked him to try to help.

Melissa Griffis, an EMS teacher, said she was very pleased with the turnout. There were more than 200 people who registered Thursday, and there are more people registering during the week.

“Lots of former students of Mr. Mastrianni’s have come out,” she said. “We’ve had some that have just turned 18, and one who is going to turn 18 in a couple of days, and they are still in high school, but they wanted to come out and support him.”

Griffis said there were a number of current students who volunteered during the drive even though they cannot sign up for the registry.

Monica Mastrianni said the drive was a wonderful outpouring of love and support for her husband.

“Sometimes teaching can seem like a thankless job on a day to day basis, and I think we as a family and he sees how much of an impact he is having on people, families and children in the community every day,” she said.

She said the family hopes there will be a match, but if not, they want to raise awareness and help make sure there are donors for others.

Griffis said there will be a warball tournament at EMS on Jan. 30.

“Not only are we doing this to try to find a match for his bone marrow, but we are also doing some fundraising things,” she said.

She said people will be able to join the bone marrow donor registry at the tournament.

There will be a marrow registry drive on Thursday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at Thomas and Hutton Engineering at 50 Park of Commerce Way in Savannah. Commerce Way is off Chatham Parkway.

Monetary donations are being accepted to help with medical costs. Donations can be sent to the Anthony Mastrianni Fund, The Coastal Bank, 5799 Highway 21 South, Rincon, GA 31326.