The Journey of a Hero- Meeting Joe Andruzzi
By Matt Holmes
Another NFL season is behind us, and the Patriots have given New Englanders a lot to celebrate. For years, Pats fans have had the pleasure of admiring the heroic feats of many of their players. Among these heroes is Joe Andruzzi, a former offensive guard, 3-time Super Bowl Champion and keynote speaker at this year’s Great New England Credit Union Show.
Joe Andruzzi has a heroic story to tell. If you’re not familiar with Joe, he began his Patriots tenure in 2000, and played five seasons with the team. In 2007, Andruzzi was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, and after intense chemotherapy treatment is now cancer-free.
Heroism runs in Joe’s family. His three brothers served in the New York City Fire Department during the 9/11 attacks, and Joe is known for carrying an injured woman in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings in 2013.
I was lucky enough to attend Joe’s keynote speech at the GNECUS on Friday morning, where he discussed his career, his battle with cancer, and his latest mission as the co-founder and chairman of the Joe Andruzzi Foundation. Getting to share a few laughs and even shed a few tears isn’t something you typically get within a 45-minute presentation, but Joe’s dialogue did just that.
After the presentation, Joe stayed for a few hours, and was accessible to everyone willing to stop by for pictures. He even gave folks the opportunity to wear his Super Bowl rings, which is like trying on a shoe that’s three sizes too big- It didn’t take much to realize how big Joe’s hands are. Of course, this was only amplified when he stopped by SIR’s booth to toss around one of our mini foam footballs.
Don’t let Joe’s Goliath-like stature fool you though. If his size is the first feature you notice about him, his friendliness will surely be the next. For someone who’s had the roller coaster journey of a lifetime, Joe is as humble as they come.
His story is one of perseverance and kindness, and he sets an example of the type of person we can all aspire to be. Though we may not all have faced the obstacles Joe has, we can still be heroes by fighting to do the right thing, and showing kindness in everything that we do. It’s a vision we try to live by every day at SIR as well, and it certainly goes a long way.
Regardless of what team you root for, chances are you left Joe’s keynote with a positive outlook on our community and the desire to make a difference. If you’re interested in learning more about the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, check out their website.