Eagle Rare Life Award Nominee

Joe Vanderpoorten

Date Added

November 26th, 2016


Saints Peter & Paul Poverty Program






The voting for the contest is closed

“Joe has lead an extremely rare life of service to his country, community, and God.”

I am nominating my husband, Joe. He is the most caring and selfless man I have ever met. He has truly lead a rare life of service to his country, his community and God. He served his country as an Air Force officer for 23 years. Following retirement from the Air Force he went to work for an aerospace company. Two years later he felt his true calling was to return to the Air Force as a civilian, where he felt he could best serve his country. He took a rather drastic pay cut in an area with an extremely high cost of living in order to return to the Air Force. During his active duty and civilian careers, Joe and I adopted 5 children. Four of them had spent significant amounts of time in the foster care system. Three of them were siblings who had been separated in the foster care system and reunited in our home. Joe was able to support this family on his own allowing me to stay home with the children who all had varying degrees of special needs due to the losses they had already suffered in their short lives. Joe has always told the children he wants three things for them: to be right with God, to be independent self-sufficient members of society, and to be happy. We provided the best educations we could afford for the children. Four of them are currently in college. Joe delayed retirement so he could raise five children that he did not bring into this world. That service to his community will hopefully have a ripple effect as these 5 beautiful young people will become adults and serve their communities too. The first one will graduate from college in May 2017. She recently told Joe that she wants a career in which she can help others! Joe is extremely active in his church. He is on the parish council at the Los Angeles Air Force Base Chapel which service active duty and retired military from all branches of service. Joe believes that it is imperative that the retired military remain active in base and post chapels. The military chapels must remain available to active duty and their families who change duty stations so frequently. The base chapel is often the first line of support for a struggling active-duty member or a family member. Joe has advocated for the continuation of programs and volunteered at virtually every chapel event for the past 15 years, including conducting children's liturgy for at least 7 years. Finally, even Joe's hobby is an act of service. He has "adopted" a local food bank in Wilmington CA, a community with many struggling families. He spearheaded the renovation of the food storage buildings and has arranged for the donation of 17.5 tons of beans and rice and 200 bags of holiday groceries over the past 5 years, much of it paid for out of his own pocket. He has worked tirelessly with several other volunteers from our parish to ensure the food bank has safe and clean facilities and enough food to really make a difference in that community. He personally assists in the distribution of groceries, blankets and clothing every Thankgiving and Christmas. The only reason he allowed me to write this is because the award money would go to the food bank! Joe truly is the embodiment of service, to his country, community, and God. His selfless service has and will continue to make the world a better place.