As everyone here at the Shore still tries to wrap their heads around the sudden and devastating loss of 19-year-old Toms River lifeguard Keith Pinto, friends and strangers are stepping up to help the Pinto family.


Keith Pinto was killed when struck by lightning Monday afternoon on the 21st Street Beach in South Seaside Park.

Eatontown resident Chase Vander Vliet is the organizer of a GoFundMe page set up to help Keith's family pay for funeral expenses.

Chase wrote:

Words cannot describe how so many of us are feeling right now. We lost a special guy tonight, one who was so close and meant so much to so many people. Keith passed away after being struck by lightning while he was working his lifeguarding shift. A complete tragedy that nobody would have ever expected to happen. It would be impossible to get it all into words how much our friend meant to us but we all know how amazing he was. Keith has left behind an overwhelming amount of amazing memories that will live in our hearts forever. All donations will go directly to Keith’s family for the proper goodbye that he deserves. Our hearts are broken by what happened and all our love and support goes out to the Pinto family and all others affected by this tragedy. We’re gonna miss you so much brother❤️#LLK

Keith Pinto via Facebook

Donations are coming in from all over the country. "R L" of Bolivia, NC commented:

When I was very young I spent many summer vacations for two weeks in Ortley Beach. One year, when I was around 9 or 10 I got into serious trouble in the ocean while trying to keep up with my older brothers and cousin. The observant lifeguard saw I was in distress and came out and brought me back to the beach. I remember my father bringing me back to the lifeguard stand to thank the lifeguard for saving my life, and make no mistake he DID save my life. Lifeguards DO save lives. Reading the comments of others as to the character of young Keith makes me know that he has saved lives, and would have saved many more if not for this tragic event.

Candlelight vigil remembering Keith Pinto (Kevin Pinto via Facebook)

If you would like to make a donation to the family of Keith Pinto for funeral expenses, click here to visit the GoFundMe page started in his honor.

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