Third annual ‘Remembering Michael T. Sot HERO Walk’ raises $23K

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CLARK, NJ — Michael T. Sot was an overall kind soul, always putting others before himself, according to good friend Vin Crisafi, who was one of the speakers at the third annual “Remembering Michael T. Sot HERO Walk” on Saturday, June 10, at Arthur L. Johnson High School in Clark.

On a Saturday night in early December 2018, 20-year-old Michael, who was a sophomore at The College of New Jersey, was safely transporting his Phi Kappa Psi fraternity brothers to a party. Michael, who pledged to remain sober and be the designated driver, was hit by a drunk driver. Michael and his five passengers were injured in the crash. They survived, but Michael died two days later. He was the son of Michael Sot Sr. and Candice Bruno-Sot.

The HERO Walk is dedicated to raising awareness about the importance of safe and sober designated drivers and to celebrate Michael’s life. This year’s HERO Walk raised $23,000. All proceeds benefit the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign’s mission to end drunk driving tragedies.

“It’s definitely something really great and I love to honor my brother,” Jessica Sot said.

“It’s a great way to carry on his legacy,” added Michael’s cousin, Olivia Sot.

Michael’s grandmother, Caroline Sot, said, with tears in her eyes, “It’s nearly five years (since his passing). It seems like yesterday. I miss him dearly.”

Ed Sot, Michael’s grandfather, added, “It’s an amazing tribute.”
Prior to the HERO Walk, Julia Sapia, who organized the event, spoke and told the large crowd that in the last three years, $85,000 was raised in Michael’s name.

Candice Bruno-Sot said, “I miss Michael all the time. We are all coping in our own way. What he did, he’ll never be forgotten.”

Prior to her speech, she expressed how proud she was of the premise of the walk and its sponsor. “It’s been difficult coping with the loss of my first born, Michael Thomas. He was the most wonderful oldest brother to Jonathan, Matthew and Jessica. Michael was also a loving and thoughtful son. His intelligence and compassion forged many friendships. The love his friends have for him is the reason this walk is in its third year. I love how the community, his friends and family have come together to smile in Michael’s memory and also to donate to the Hero Campaign’s premise on designated drivers.”

Bill Elliott, chairman and CEO of The John R. Elliott HERO Campaign for Designated Drivers, said, “HERO Campaign is about heroes among us. The work is just beginning. We are deeply appreciative of Julia, the Sot family and their friends who have contributed to the success of this year’s third annual Michael Sot Memorial HERO Walk. The funds will help us prevent drunk driving by promoting the use of safe, responsible designated drivers on highway billboards, police patrol cars wrapped with the HERO message, and our Desktop DUI Simulator, now in use by driver education students at the Arthur L. Johnson High School.”

The top three fundraising teams for this event were: MTS Moms, #Knight9 and ALJ GIRLS LAX.

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Photos by Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta