Gym dedicated in memory of Bensalem teacher
BENSALEM - May 5, 2012 (WPVI) -- "I didn't realize I was going to get so emotional on this day, cause it's like five years - but it is," said Vicki Shaup.
Shaup got emotional when remembering 29-year-old middle school teacher and martial arts master Rob Massaroni.
He collapsed and died right after finishing the Broad Street Run in 2007.
A fitness lover until his final moments, Massaroni died of an undetected heart problem.
He was a beloved teacher at Shafer Middle School in Bensalem and that's where they've dedicated a community fitness center in his memory.
"He was an excellent teacher, really good with kids, nice to everybody. He was always there to help so I think it's good that we're doing something to honor him," said Drew Mayberry, a former student.
Colleagues, friends and family gathered for the dedication ceremony outside the school.
Massaroni was married just nine months when he died.
"These little kids used to look up to him like he was Superman. It was just great because now I see these kids all grown up and hopefully they take a little of what they learned from him," said Valeria, Massaroni's widow.
Funded with help from Aqua Water, Parx Casino and Independence Blue Cross, the exercise machines are available to everyone in the community.
Five years after his death, people who knew and loved Massaroni still miss him, but are delighted this memorial focuses on fitness - something that was very important to him.
"He would be happy. He'd probably be a little embarrassed but he'd be happy because there are a lot of people that he loved that are here now," said Barbara Massaroni, the victim's mother.
This year 82 Shafer School students will be participating in the Broad Street Run in Massaroni's memory.
On the sleeves of their bright green shirts is the number 2133 - his number in the last race he ran.
pennsylvania, bucks county, bensalem, broad street run, local/state, nora muchanic
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