Nathan Trapuzzano’s legacy lives on through foundation

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – On Sunday, Nathan Trapuzzano would have turned 26 years old.

On that day, the expectant father and husband’s family will honor his life with a memorial walk in his name.

Police say Trapuzzano was shot and killed by a teenager along 16th Street a little over a year ago, while he was on a morning walk.

Sunday, May 17, will mark the first ‘NateWalk,’ to raise money for the Nathan Trapuzzano Memorial Fund.

Nathan’s wife Jennifer, gave birth to their daughter, Cecilia Marie, less than a month after his death. Jennifer and Nathan’s family, from Pennsylvania, decided to start a foundation in Nathan’s name, to provide financial relief and support to children who have lost a parent.

“He was taken too early,” said Jennifer Trapuzzano. “He didn’t get to leave the impact he could have left. But we can do that for him, under his name.”

Today, Jennifer sits, with now one-year-old Cecilia. She has support from her family, who she now lives with.

She says Cecilia just started walking, and saying even more words than before. Her personality shines through.

“She’s my motivation,” says Trapuzzano.

Her reason, her motivation, her strength for the future, she says. The reason she found the strength to continue on with grad school to become a physician assistant, even after her husband’s death.

“Every time I get discouraged, or, just tired, and I feel like I can’t study anymore, I can’t write that next paper, I just put her to bed, and watch her sleep, and I just know I have to,” Trapuzzano says. “I want to provide a future for her, I want to give her the best. We lost so much and I don’t want her to lose anything else.”

This week is an emotional one for their family. Monday marked Jennifer and Nathan’s second wedding anniversary, and Sunday was Mother’s Day, and Jennifer’s graduation commencement ceremony from grad school. She decorated her cap for Nathan, wishing he was there. But she says it was looking back at Cecilia from the stage, that helped her through it.

“Walking on stage, I was sobbing. I was just so overwhelmed with pride and joy and grief, without Nate being there. My class stood up, and gave me a standing ovation, and it meant a lot. They’ve been by my side through everything, from my wedding day, to my announcement of pregnancy, to my loss of Nate, to the birth of Cecilia. And they were there by my side standing, and, that meant a lot,” she said.

What also means a lot to her, the foundation she and Nate’s family members are forming to help children like Cecilia, who’ve lost a parent.

“I was incredibly blessed after he passed, just by the outpouring of love and support, from the Indianapolis area, and across the nation,” said Trapuzzano.

“I was given very generous donations,” she added. “Just to have one less stress was such a blessing. I can never thank those [who helped] enough.”

Now she looks ahead, hoping to give a message of hope and support to those who may be suffering, as well.

“The journey of grief, it never really ends, it is up and down,” she explains. “To realize, it’s a journey, but you can make something good come out of something bad. I think that’s also what’s helped me to heal, and what’s helped to bring promise and hope to our future. This walk and foundation is how my family has chosen to do it, and I’m just proud to be a part of that. I think it’s important for anyone who is going through something find that thing that can give hope to your future.”

The Nathan Trapuzzano Memorial Foundation will host its first fundraising event, a memorial walk, on Sunday, May 17 at 1 p.m. at Edna Balz Lacy Park. NateWalk will include a walk, auction, 50/50 raffle, food, vendors, live music, and games. Online registration and donation forms are available here.

The second annual Trapuzzano Benefit Ride is scheduled for the day before, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 at Heavy’s Bar & Grill in Camby. Kickstands up at noon. Proceeds from this year’s ride will also go to The Nathan Trapuzzano Memorial Foundation as well.

If you would like to find out more about the foundation, click here. For the NateWalk’s Facebook page, click here.