ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) ─ At 18 years old, Nilito Carlino had a bright future ahead of him.
Nilito graduated from Attleboro High School, spending his senior year attending the Culinary Arts and Business Management program at Johnson & Wales University.
His father, Rocco Carlito, tells 12 News his son wanted to follow in his footsteps and become a chef.
“He wanted some day to own his own restaurant,” Rocco said.
But Nilito didn’t get the chance to make those dreams a reality.
In September 2019, just days before he was set to begin his sophomore year at JWU, Nilito was on his way home from his summer job when he was killed in a crash on I-95.
It was a day that changed Rocco’s life forever. But days after his son’s death, he came up with an idea.
“I was determined to start a foundation to help students with culinary arts scholarships,” Rocco said.
Rocco created the Nilito “Nick” Carlino Foundation, with the goal of annually helping fellow Attleboro High School graduates pursue what his son never got the chance to accomplish.
“He always wanted to help other people, he put himself last,” Rocco said. “He always wanted to help others.”
While Nilito’s life was cut short, Rocco hopes that, by helping other students pursue a career in culinary arts, it will keep his son’s memory alive.
“The loss of a child is not the greatest thing to happen,” Rocco said. “But the foundation I started is sort of going to fill that void.”
Rocco also plans to raise money for Attleboro High School’s track & field team and Best Buddies program, adding that these were organizations his son was passionate about.
Bill Runey, principal of Attleboro High School, tells 12 News in a statement that they’re grateful Nilito’s family “has made AHS a priority in their fundraising.”
“It’s the definition of Blue Pride,” Runey said, adding that Nilito was passionate about cooking and their culinary arts program was a great fit for him.
Rocco said while he knows his son always looked up to him, he now believes his son is looking down and smiling.
“He is very proud,” Rocco said. “I was his hero. He is looking down he is very proud; I want to continue his legacy.”
Anyone interested in supporting the foundation can donate by clicking here.