Cook County Deputy Sheriff Joe Fiorentino recently received the 2013 Ellis Island Medal of Honor. The award is given to celebrate the achievements of individuals who inspire and touch the lives of people worldwide.
Past winners include Muhammad Ali, Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, and President Clinton. Other medalists for 2013 included Congressman Peter King and actress Mia Farrow. The award was special to Joe`s family because his great aunt was born on a boat that came to Ellis Island. Joe said The day was a celebration of not only the medalists outstanding accomplishments, but also an acknowledgement of the sprit , hard work, and values of their ancestors who passed through Ellis Island.
Joe is a martial arts black belt and certified defensive tactics instructor. He volunteers teaching self-defense to underprivileged kids, senior citizens, and fellow LEOs. He has worked with the Chicago Public Schools helping mentor kids and served as “Principal For A Day.” In 2009, President Obama presented Joe with the President`s Volunteer Service Award.
Joe and his wife, Heidi, volunteer with the Next Contender Foundation; an organization that pays for underprivileged and special needs kids to enroll in wrestling and martial arts classes.
As a martial artist, Joe has a 98-5 record in MMA, Pankration and Grappling fights. He is a member of the United States Martial Arts Hall of Fame. When asked about his fighting Joe said “I used to drink champagne when I was a fighter. I was popping bottles and dating models, living the James Bond lifestyle. Everyone is looking for happiness. The way to find it is to help others ”
When you look deeper into the life of an LEO, you never know what lies beneath.
To learn more: