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Joe Satriano

Retiree
Roslyn (N.Y.) Teachers Association, Local 2966

Joe Satriano

Joe and Susan Satriano met in a Brooklyn College math class. That meeting led to a 29-year marriage and two sons. Joe and Susan taught math at Bushwick High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., until she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993. Joe retired four years early to spend time with her. 

"I knew where I had to be," says Satriano. When his wife died in 2006, Joe was adrift. "I had no job, no direction and no Sue. My life was going nowhere." And then he got an idea to start a foundation to help children with parents who have cancer. The couple had two sons Matthew and Justin."Sue and I saw what it did to our own two kids. Watching one of your parents die leaves an emotional scar," he says. 

Satriano and recipients

He used his wife's $10,000 insurance check to establish the Susan Satriano Foundation. In 2006, he gave out four $1,000 scholarships. To date, Satriano has given out $130,000 in scholarships. "I get many requests from students, and I've never turned anyone down." 

Satriano takes the time to interview the students, giving them a chance to open up. "It's very cathartic for me too. I'm just doing what I think is right. The kids are the true heroes of this operation." 

Satriano raises money for the foundation by soliciting donations and holding events to raise money for scholarships. He has also written a book, In Sickness and In Health: A Memoir of Love, based on journals he began writing a year after his wife died. Satriano says it's been a joy to help students. "I do hope someday to give out money to kids for a different reason. I love to see the foundation grow. I no longer help kids in front of the classroom, but I can help in another way."


Watch video: The Susan Satriano Memorial Scholarship Foundation