Remembering Tommy Meo, Jr.

Family, friends and neighbors hailed the memory of one of their own with a “Spirit of Life” walkathon in Bergen Beach.

The ninth annual tribute jaunt, hosted by Millennium Development and the Bergen Beach Youth Organization, drew more than 300 people to the Bergen Beach Fields on Bergen Avenue, between avenues W and X, on April 17 to honor Tommy Meo, Jr.

Meo was 12 years old at the time of his accidental death in 2000, plunging his community into sorrow, and later mobilizing it to action on behalf of the vivacious boy, most remembered by his loved ones for his “contagious smile, passion for sports and love of life.”

“Our brother was definitely what you would call one-of-a-kind,” said Tommy’s sisters, Jackie, Gina and Janine. “He taught us that a lifetime is not measured by years, instead, it is measured by the amount of lives you have touched within those years.”

Even after almost a decade has passed since his tragic death, Meo’s friends look forward to the walk every year and constantly ask to lend a hand organizing the event, said his parents, Roberta and Tom, adding, “Tommy brings his friends back together again every year.”

Proceeds from the walk, which also included a blood drive, will benefit the Spirit of Life Organization, established in Meo’s memory to give out scholarships, and help underprivileged and ailing children.