YEAR JOINED MKLM: 1989
COUNTRY: Nicaragua and United States
FOCUS: Economic and Environmental Development
Born in Westminster, CO. After high school Joe was a full time volunteer with the Oblate Volunteers in Chicago, the Denver Catholic Worker house before joining Maryknoll in 1989. After Maryknoll he married Rosemary O’Donnell (Guatemala ’89). They have two children Theresa 19 and Jack 16 and live in Westminster, CO.
Joe has a MSW from University of Illinois and Chicago.
Joe worked in Esquipulas, Nicaragua for 3 1/2 years and at the Chicago Development House for 18 months (with the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers Development Department)
Ministry- Part of parish team is rural Nicaragua. Most of the work was with a revolving agricultural loan fund through the Juan XXIII program out of the UCA (University of Central America) in Managua. European funds were available for mico loans. Joe worked with local leaders to form development communities at each project site. Funds were given for cows, chickens, large community corn grinders, seeds, fertilizers, etc. Each committee had to spend funds on training/classes and then pay back the loan to another local committee for another project.
Small producers and cooperatives in Esquipulas, Nicaragua
When Joe first arrived in Esquipulas the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers there suggested him to visit the communities and ask them what the needs were in that area. Without exception every community stated they needed funding for basic items like seed, fertilizers, cows for milk, etc. With the help of former MKLM, Mary Coonan (Chile, ’81), who worked with Juan XXIII and local leaders, dozens of development projects were completed and revolving loan fund that continued to function under local leadership long after Joe’s departure.
Currently Joe works in Public Affairs for BNSF Railway. He worked for a water utility (Denver Water) for 15 years also in Public Affairs. Most of the work is conflict resolution between the public, cities and counties and the agency for whom he works.
He is on the board of El Porvenir and the Human Services Board for the city of Westminster. He attends St. Johns Episcopal Cathedral in Denver.