Joey Ingegneri, Class of 1996

Joey IngegneriJoey developed from a mischievous little boy into a rebellious youth and then transforming into a compassionate, caring adult. The road has not all been a smooth one, but it has been inspirational.

Football and friends kept him interested in high school. Suffice it to say he was fiercely loyal to his friends and always “had their backs”. Within a year after graduation, he suffered a catastrophic car accident. Although doctors could stabilize him and save his life, it became apparent that there were going to be long-term implications due to his injuries including: possible paralysis below the waist and nerve damage to one or both arms. Not a good prognosis for a young man not yet 20 years old. Yet, this is where Joey began to be an inspiration

Yet, this is where Joey began to be an inspiration to those who knew him. With the love and support of his close-knit family, Joey refused to just fold. He got out of the hospital, into a wheelchair and began to determine where he would go next. Joey struggled to redefine how his life would progress. The progression would be slow, incremental as well as painful, but always hopeful. He was determined to be as mobile as possible. Exercise and rehab allowed him to regain the use of his arms to the point that he could play in a wheelchair rugby league. Vehicles were retrofitted so that he could drive with his hands. Jackson Browne concerts and trips to Bourbon Street in New Orleans were once again regular activities. In short, he made every effort to get back to doing the things he did before his accident with no excuses, no complaints.

While Joey’s inspiration to keep pushing on probably came mostly from his family in the early years after his accident, it was his marriage to his beautiful wife, Courtney, that pushed him to the accomplishments that qualify him for the Sahuaro Hall of Fame. Finally returning to school after working some years, he graduated with honors from the U of A with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in the rehabilitation field in 2013.

After a very difficult pregnancy, Joey and Courtney were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Sicily. Sicily was born two months premature and Joey and Courtney spent most of their time nurturing this tiny miracle until she was released from the NICU. As with his own difficult experience, there was never a word about “why us?” – only love and support and perfect faith that “everything will be all right. Sicily is now a healthy, happy 3½-year-old who can now push little boys down with the best of them!

Despite the adversity Joey has faced in his own life, he has found time to give back to the community that he grew up in. He has been an active member of St. Pius X Church. His work with the Ronald McDonald House in Tucson has been phenomenal. He has donated hundreds of hours of time working with this amazing charity. Joey is currently employed by the Jim Click Group. Mr. Click has always
been active in the community promoting jobs and opportunities for Tucsonans with disabilities and now
Joey successfully oversees those efforts with his own unique perspective.

It is believed that teachers influence students in ways that they will never know. In that sense, Joey is a
testament to the faculty of Sahuaro High School in the mid-90s and his success, loyalty and compassion is a tribute to them as well as his parents.


 

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