Photographer: Joshua Beckman
Joe was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana. Joe was a very active child who was afforded many opportunities at a young age. His parents pushed him to try a variety of activities, and he grew into an extroverted, socially oriented kid at a young age.
Growing up as an Irish Catholic, he became attached to the University of Notre Dame. Not only did his Dad graduate from Notre Dame, but his uncle did as well. Joe became an avid soccer player and played year round on a travel soccer club affiliated with the University.
After graduating, he attended the University of Iowa to pursue a degree in Economics. Three weeks after his 21st birthday, Joe’s Ford Explorer flipped in route to Aspen with friends. He became a paraplegic after breaking his T4/5 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down. After five weeks at The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, Joe returned home and then continued the pursuit of his degree in Iowa. Joe graduated and has recently moved back to South Bend, Indiana, from Chicago; he now works as a compliance analyst for a financial software company. He continues to be active as a public speaker, disability rights advocate, and adaptive sports enthusiast.