Jodie was Joe's wife and she was literally an answer to his prayer. During Joe's senior year at Notre Dame, he went to the grotto and, according to Dan, prayed this prayer," I got a good education, but I still don't know what to do with my life. I think I should be married and I need someone who believes in the things I believe in."
"Two weeks later he started dating my mom and they were married six months after that," Dan said.
of the couple's first projects, initially as part of their involvement with the Christian Family Movement, was becoming involved with Joliet's migrant worker community in the 1960s, Dan said.
"They were living in shacks with no running water; the kids weren't going to school, so the women started going over there, helping and advocating," Dan said.
Eventually the volunteers needed a central location on Joliet's east side where they could go for assistance.
"So they decided to start the Spanish Community Center," Dan said. "They bought a house on Herkimer."
But to buy a house, a down payment was needed. The Spanish Community Center was a new organization of just 12 families. The center had no money and no credit, Dan said.
So Joe and Jodie took out a second mortgage on their house.
'They got people to donate furniture," Dan said. "I remember being 12 year old and riding around in an old roofing truck bringing furniture to the migrants who needed it."
Joe helped people in other ways. Joe recalled the exchange student that lived with them. And the blocks Joe walked when a relative's camera was stolen with all the photos she'd taken from her 65th grade school reunion (Joe found the film the thief discarded).
Or the national "Tip the Maids" movement Joe and Jodie founded: tipthemaids.com
"He was amazing," Dan said. "It's impossible to keep whatever Dad did going, but we'll try our best."