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:

http://www.neco.org/medal-of-honor/medalist.html

http://www.worldwidedojo.com/news-and-more/joe-fiorentino/