From the time Joe was born we knew life would be very interesting. Challenging, mischievous, fun loving, adventurous. Just a few words that describe him. The caring little boy who was so concerned the fish were cold he turned the heater up on the tank. Yes…that was steam coming off the top of the water and yes.. we could have had boiled guppies for dinner. When he got older, his phone calls saying “Hey mom…..Guess what?” We never knew what was going to come next. “I signed up for an experimental Anthrax vaccine” or “I signed up for a prototype parachute”.
Joe went to college, but after a year and a half decided that wasn’t his best fit so he joined the Army. He enjoyed basic training, earning a great many extra pushups along the way. He was the first in his AIT class to cross the stage as a combat engineer. And then airborne school…Rough Terrain Airborne…jumping out of a plane with a chainsaw into a tree. He earned a perfect score on his IED training, and did so well on identifying IED’s and learning to operate a specialized robot, he tutored other soldiers. We know to his teachers from grade school through high school that comes as quite a surprise!
Joe deployed to Afghanistan in December 2009 as Counter-IED and Route Clearance Patrol - As one officer described it….the most dangerous job in modern times. He volunteered for every mission. He was one of a select few to teach the Afghan army the skills in which he was trained. On June 16, 2010 he again volunteered for what he knew would be a dangerous mission. That day he proved himself to be a true hero, putting others ahead of himself. “Joseph was the rare breed today who stepped forward to help others when most step back” was just one of the statements made about him.
Joe dedicated his life to helping others, whether it was church mission trips, getting his friends out of a jam, teaching the Afghan soldiers the skills they needed, or playing with the Afghan children. He literally gave his life for the people he cared about. He is a hero in every sense of the word, and we are so proud of him.