Giovanni Alexander Kopystenski was a very happy, healthy and incredibly loved little boy, who suffered from non-verbal and comprehension delayed Autism. Just 28 days before his 6th birthday, Giovanni was accidentally mortally wounded, when he, after finding his father's legal firearm in the gun drawer of their vehicle, and mistaking it for a water-gun that he had witnessed kids playing with at a community pool. The loss of Giovanni, his only child, was so devastating, that Alex Kopystenski, who was a full time, solely custodial parent, for Gio's entire life, lost all interest in everything, including the prized gun collection that he personally destroyed; while equally losing his interest in any reason to keep living and had attempted to take his own life. Gio's life had been filled with love, laughter and happiness. He enjoyed every day of his short life and although he was verbally challenged, Gio possessed such self-assurance and so many talents, that everyone who met him instantly fell in love with him and were constantly impressed and awed by him. His autism was never a barrier, but a hurdle that Gio was never slowed down by.
Over 350 people attended Gio's funeral, a true sign of the profound impact his life had on others. Giovanni's Legacy is a testament of this little boy's loving, happy, giving personality and the kindness that he extended to all he met. Due to the circumstances that led to this tragic accident, we felt it was our personal responsibility to establish this Foundation, in our effort to address not only family gun safety, but to bring the epidemic of Autism Spectrum out into the light and try to help others create a relationship and an environment for their autistic children that is filled with the pride and celebration that Gio Kopy's life consisted of; especially when parents have no outlet to help them cope and understand that autistics are capable of great success and incredible love for those around them.