Rider of the clouds
Bayonne family seeks to prevent the kind of accidents that killed their son
by By Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Aug 14, 2013 | 4264 views | 12 12 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
TAKING IT ON THE ROAD – This cutout is one of 21 images that make up a road tour dedicated to educating motorists about motorcycle safety.
TAKING IT ON THE ROAD – This cutout is one of 21 images that make up a road tour dedicated to educating motorists about motorcycle safety.
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Even though 16 months have passed since Jack Santopietro died after being struck by a mini-van, his mother Margaret Abrams still can’t go to the site at Avenue E and East 10th Street.

“It’s just too painful,” she said. “I see the accident happening and I can’t deal with it emotionally.”

On March 16, 2012, Jack died as a result of the collision. The driver of the vehicle that struck Jack’s motorcycle said she had not seen the motorcycle, and this became the rallying cry of a movement Jack’s family started.

Unable to bring Jack back, his family vowed to do everything possible to make certain that this tragedy did not happen again. A month after his death, the family formed “Remember Me…John `Jack’ Santopietro,” a nonprofit organization to promote motorcycle awareness and offer a yearly scholarship to a student majoring in fire science at New Jersey City University as well as to offer campership awards to Bayonne scouts attending Boy Scouts of America summer camp.

A graduate of Lincoln Community School and Bayonne High School, Jack worked by day and attended college at night. Friends said he loved to ride his dirt bike, but also had numerous other interests, including the Boy Scouts. Although studying criminal justice at Hudson County Community College at the time of his death, Santopietro had planned to attend New Jersey City University to study fire science, a program to help people pursue careers as firefighters. He was on the Civil Service list to become a firefighter in Bayonne.

Margaret and her husband, George, had a table at this year’s National Night Out, promoting an educational program called Rider of the Clouds.

“Basically what we do is we have a motorcycle-awareness initiative called the Rider of the Clouds initiative,” Margaret said.

This involves cutouts of 21 life-size motorcycles. Each bears the name of a person who died in a motorcycle accident, and each has a story. The two on display at the Night Out event were from Bayonne.

The goal is to reduce motorcycle fatalities by making motorists more aware.

“What we do is we take the initiative to different communities around the state and educate people about motorcycle awareness,” Margaret said. “This is not so much motorcyclists we’re reaching out to but rather motorists. Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too, but one of the statements that the woman said about my son is that she didn’t see him. So we’re trying to get drivers to take a second look. We have stickers with that saying on it.”

Her group is also handing out brochures with safety tips that include such things as being alert for motorcyclists when heavy traffic can hide them from view. Motorists should also anticipate hazards, especially debris or oil slicks on the road, railroad tracks, the narrowing of roadways, and raised manhole covers.

Motorists are cautioned not to tailgate motorcycles and to give them enough room on the road.

Margaret said she is gathering fatality statistics in the area over the last 16 months. “We’re hearing that there are a lot of injuries to the motorcyclists, but fewer fatalities,” she said.

She is hoping to get the initiative in all 50 states within the next five or ten years.

“We were actually supposed to move into New York in May, but we ran into some funding issues,” she said.

The motorcycle cutouts run about $2,000 per set.

“We’re looking for funding for that,” she said. “What we’ve raised now, I would rather give back to the Boy Scouts and cover funeral expenses. So we’re looking for organizations that would be willing to fund expanding the Rider of the Clouds initiative.”

“We have accomplished a lot in 16 months,” she said.

Motorcycle clubs from Bayonne to Guttenberg in Hudson County and beyond have supported the program, Margaret said.

“We’ve been in Kearny, Guttenberg, Newark, and other towns,” she said. “We’ve been all around the state of New Jersey. We’re also trying to get into driver-education programs in high schools. Carteret is the first one that is trying to join forces with us.”

Donations can be made at P.O. Box 3129, Bayonne, N.J. 07002. Organizers said matching gifts are welcome. For more information or to get on the mailing list, visit rememberme316.org or email rememberme316@aol.com.

Al Sullivan may be reached at asullivan@hudsonreporter.com.

Comments
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MargaretAbrams316
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August 16, 2013
Everyone has a right to their own opinions! Remember Me John "Jack" Santopietro, Inc. has proof of all that we do! Seriously, if you visit the website you will see many of our accomplishments over the the short 16 months that we have been in operation. Let me explain for those of you that want to state inaccurate information and choose not to visit the website wwww.rememberme316. org

Here are just some of our accomplishments:We developed a website, a brochure that includes safety tips, we developed a very powerful phrase, we developed the motorcycle awareness initiative Rider of the Clouds and received Copyrights by the United States Copyrights Office, we were certified as a NJ Nonprofit Corporation , we were granted 501(c)(3)status by the IRS, we have awarded out 10 campership awards, there were 2 recipients for the NJCU fire science scholarship, we supported the Police Unity Tour,developed a funeral expense fund that we hoped would never be distributed but it has, we were the recipients of the 2012 Start Something Challenge Trade Winds Award, we have been recognized by the ones we have supported and continue to support and it is many.

As far as events go, in order to donate to organizations we must seek funds and the events that Remember Me has hosted (Not the Abrams family) has been a total of 4 events, a celebration of his life which is held in September when we award out the spring NJCU scholarship, Spaghetti with Santa held in December, the legacy event when we distribute the camperships to BSA troops and award out the fall NJCU scholarship and a tricky tray held in April. If other corporations or organizations choose to host fundraisers and donate the funds to Remember Me, that has nothing to do with us except we are very appreciative for their support. Such supporters were TGIF, St. Henry Religious Ed, HFA Families, Under the Bridge and the Elks Lodge.

The remainder of our time is presenting to communities and staffing tables at community events through out the state of NJ.

We do not host these events to keep his memory alive in others because if you knew him you would know, he was one unforgettable young man. We host events to give back to those we support and to raise money for the continued support.

I would also like to take this moment to say THANK YOU to all whom have visited the website since this article has been aired because we have had a record breaking amount of new visitors to the site since its inception.

I hope and pray for these people that state such negative comments to never have to endure the tragic loss of a child,you will never understand the pain and you surely cant imagine it but I'm proud to say that we have taken this tragedy and gave it a purpose.

I know my son is looking down with much pride! Missing you my sweet boy every second of every day and forever loving you! 17 months today and the pain remains!
CatherinePaul
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August 17, 2013
oh woman how you lie, may your tongue fall out with the lies you spew, the lord will punish you. this community has done enough, confess your sins that you work for satan. shame on you.
MarianneJefferies
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August 28, 2013
After reading all that is going on and reading back on what happened, i find your a sick woman, who in gods name has a damn birthday party for a kid that is dead? are you serious lady wanting people to come to this party and then what you pocket all the money again? when will you stop? didnt you collect enough money? what did you do with it all, okay since your son was a city employee he had great insurance so we all know THERE WERE NO MEDICAL BILLS and they have life insurance, you had so many fundraisers and i looked everywhere and nothing was advertised in the Jersey Journal or any other paper of where all this money went,so where is it all?? and second your name is not Santopietro why do you keep using the name? you have no legal rights to. Im sure after reading all this the Bayonne Community is starting to realize your a FRAUD and like stealing money and having pity parties for yourself you want everyone to remember YOU not your son.so why dont you stop already just like CatherinePaul stated stop working for Satan and leave us alone.
pattyj
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August 16, 2013
Well I'm not hiding behind a screen name and I think this is all gone on long enough. When will the Abrams stop bleeding the community. Please medical bills, funeral bills, other peoples funeral bills, police unity tour, my fix what else you going to think of to pocket money. I have been following this since day one and all this money and nothing advertised in the papers as to who has been getting it besides the Abrams. I back the people below. Enough of begging for money and leave us alone
KathyCollins2
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August 16, 2013
So. . Now everyone that raises money for organizations will be questioned about their every day expenses. .. really when does it stop? ??.

Why is it ok for some organizations to raise money and not be questioned. ??

Pattyj... really not hiding huh... that really narrows it down.
KathyCollins2
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August 16, 2013
Remember Me John "Jack" Santopietro, Inc. has nothing to hide. Our record speaks for itself.. money has been and will continue to be donated for scholarships, to both NJCU and the local Boy Scout troops, along with sponsoring the Police Unity Tour. I am very proud to be a part of this organization and together with the community support, which we do have, it will thrive spreading the word of motorcycle awareness while keeping the beautiful memory of Jack alive.

Can I just ask... are you people just jealous of the love and values that the Abrams family have?? Why hide behind a screen name...?? Do you "google" their names or stalk their FB pages ?? Do you sit all day, wondering, what are they doing now ?? Do you pretend to mourn at the memorial while wondering how can we "get them" today ??

jerseymom
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August 15, 2013
oh please here we go again, like roundup said, the Abrams had more fundraisers then i have ever heard of, why dont everyone ask where all the money is. wasnt there another boy killed in bayonne recently, you dont hear his mother having all these fundraisers for him? humm i wonder? she charges people a fanominal amount and then says she didnt collect anything, come on shes having another party in September. if your son was that popular you wouldnt need to have so many parties so that everyone would remember him, they will do it on their own. why dont you stop trying to be everyones hero because your a joke, a laughing stock of the community. everyone sees you as nothing but like was stated money hungry. why cant one article go without you begging for money?
MargaretAbrams316
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August 15, 2013
www.rememberme316.org is the web address to keep updated on upcoming events and see what we continue to do to keep Jack's memory alive and hopefully to prevent another family from such pain.
MargaretAbrams316
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August 15, 2013
I am the Founder/ President of Remember Me John Jack Santopietro, Inc. More importantly I am Jack's Mom. I would like to say that the misprint in the article has already been addressed and Thank You silerstretch for explaining exactly what the Remember Me Funeral Expense Fund is. Please go visit the website and learn more about what it is we are doing instead of making false accusations roundup. Id also like to state that I wish the organization held 32 fundraisers and raised hundreds of thousands but that's not the reality. We can only hope to be able to organize that many funderaisers and raise that much money. But I am very proud to report that we have maintained our NJCU Fire Science Scholarship, Camperships to every BSA Troop in Bayonne, we have supported many local non profit organizations ,we have educated motorcycle awareness and we have incorporated the Funeral Expense Fund most recently. And the awareness initiative is a costly project and is making a difference in others lives, maybe not yours but in others it is. We don't get the wood, paint, individual plaques and hardware for free.It is costly. What we do for free, all of the volunteers, is the actual tracing, cutout, painting, assembling and continuous maintenance of the initiative.

AS far as my personal life...First of all it has nothing to do with the organization! But i will say this, vacations ???? I wish!!! I have a family, I work full time and operate Remember Me full time so i really don't have time. Purchasing a new truck ???? Would you like to take over my monthly payments cause ill surely allow you to do that. And home renovations??? I actually giggled with this one, I put grass seed down, rearranged my existing furniture and repaired my back deck so no one would get hurt. Both my husband and I work full time jobs, we work for all that we have! And we are very blessed!

silverstretch
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August 15, 2013
roundup.... ask questions before you bash...what was failed to be said in the article was that "Remember Me" is starting a program within the funeral homes of Hudson County to help the families, of fatal motorcycle accidents, pay for the funeral services of their loved ones. the Abrams family is not looking for funding for Jack's services. you are just a part of what's wrong with society today, everyone wants to bash people and spew negativity.
roundup
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August 14, 2013
OMG!! i cant believe this woman is out looking for money again... after having 32 fundraisers, shes looking to cover funeral expenses..ARE YOU KIDDING ME LADY...the hundred of thousand you collected from this poor community isnt enough. what did you do with that money, besides buy new trucks and do construction to your home???. the lies you told them to get money... why dont you stop the pity party already and leave these people alone..your nothing but money hungry, this community gave you enough to remodel your home and go on vacations.STOP WE HAD ENOUGH OF YOU.. next your going to tell us that you have medical bills right?
roundup
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August 14, 2013
oh and those stupid cutout do not cost $2000.00 you make them yourself out of plywood in your garage or your husbands illegal garage and paint them..and your educational bull crap dont work because there were over 10 motorcycle accidents in the last 16 months.