Car show in honor of John Anthony Palmiotto

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It all came full circle on Sunday, October 24.
That was the day that Howard Beach and Ozone Park showed just how big their hearts are, with more than 100 classics coming out for a car show in honor of John Anthony Palmiotto.
The 16-year-old from Ozone Park died tragically in a car accident on November 2, 2005, but his spirit lives on in a scholarship created in his memory – and this year the proceeds from the show – over $3,500 — will go to the academic award.
“The support from the people in the community is overwhelming,” said Tina Marie Palmiotto, John’s mother. “That they show so much heart and caring, it means a lot to me. It’s a testament to my son.”
The friendly, well-liked teen was driving, albeit too fast, with five other teens in the car at 81st Street and 151st Avenue in Lindenwood – none wearing seat belts – when they realized they were fast approaching a four-way stop sign, which had been obscured by a tree
But it was already too late.
John swerved the Nissan to avoid an oncoming vehicle, hit a tree and went airborne. The car then flipped, ejecting the passengers. It came to rest in someone’s driveway, effectively landing on John, according to his mom.
EMTs stabilized him and rushed him to Brookdale Hospital; the other teens were taken to Jamaica Hospital.
At 3:05 a.m., John passed away. A toxicology report revealed he had not been drinking.
“After something like that happens, it changes you,” said an emotional Tina. “[Some things] all of a sudden are not so important anymore.”
But from the tragedy came something good.
Tina was inspired to create a scholarship at Robert F. Wagner Junior Secondary School in Long Island City, where John had been a student.
“I had to do something to let John go on. I still have to carry on for him.”
In the past three years, she explained, she – and the big-hearted people who have donated through journal ads and dinner dances – has given away $15,000 in scholarships.
The students who receive the award are “most improved” form grades nine through 12.
This year, she said, “I wanted to do something a little different for the five-year anniversary.”
So on Sunday, October 24, in conjunction with the All American Car Club (AACC), there was a car show at the Ozone Howard Little League ball fields.
It started at 9 a.m., and by 11, there were already over 70 cars on display.
There were trophies awarded by peers’ choice, a 50/50 and raffles, with Lou Buglione from the East Coast Car Association winning a flat screen TV.
“All American Car Club is proud to be associated with such a good cause,” said vice president Anthony Ringston.
“AACC is unbelievable,” said Tina. “I couldn’t have done any of this . . . especially without Anthony Ringston.”
This year, said Tina, the scholarship will be open to students in other schools.
“I wanted to bring it back to the community,” she explained. “The kids are so thankful. John would be so happy to see this.”

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