Joe Gleeson '86

$102,302 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 13 months
RE Joe Geeson:

CNQ Classmates, it is with heavy heart that I feel obligated to send this note to our entire class.  After the recent passing of several classmates, there were some postings on the WP86 Facebook page where many of you stated that you wished you knew more about some of the dire situations of some of our distressed classmates so you could have done something about it before it was too late.  That got me thinking that just a small few of us should not be trying to handle this current situation all alone, anymore.  While I struggled with the pride and privacy of one of our dear classmates given this public disclosure, I ultimately decided this should be brought into the open so we can all “grip hands” and work together to help a deeply struggling classmate and friend. 

I am talking about Joe Gleeson.  About 10 years ago, Joe’s alcohol addiction came visibly to the surface, where he lost his job, wife, relations with his 4 beautiful children, essentially everything.  Over the years he has been in and out of rehab programs and hospitals, and has had the corresponding legal issues that come with relapse after relapse.  Most recently, the last 3 year or so, he’s been living in a very dangerous suburb of Chicago, keeping hard-labor jobs for brief stints at a time, being burglarized, being mugged and beaten at times, and continuing to relapse after short successful runs at sobriety.  He has tried so hard, over and over, to no avail, and it’s killing him, literally and emotionally.

For the last ten years, steadily, John Noble and I have played a central and heavily engaged role in helping Joe through this very difficult situation (with jobs, advice, motivation, money, etc.).  It started with an intervention about a decade ago where nearly a dozen of our classmates got actively involved to help.  But with continued relapses, for the last 8 years or so (and with Joe going off the grid a lot and losing touch with everyone), it’s been just John and I dealing with Joe (weekly, often daily).  We felt it was time to bring the power of CNQ86 to bear on this situation.

The bottom line is that we felt the situation has degraded in recent months, and Joe was nearing a likely catastrophic outcome.  We hired a professional addiction counselor to travel to Chicago and convince Joe to enter an extended 90+-day program in Florida that is designed for long-term alcoholics who cannot beat the disease.

I am extremely pleased to report to you all that we worked with the counselor, Joe’s family, and the new program to transport him down to Florida on June 18 where he officially started this new long-term recovery program.  For now, he is out of Chicago and in safe hands, ideally recovering for good. 

I am writing to ask all of you for your help.  We hope Joe will be in Florida for years to come, but no way to know for sure.  If you are in Florida and can visit him, please make time to go see him.  If you have a company that can hire him after his 3-6 month program, please try to do that (he is an MIT grad MBA and a star-man after all!)  Plus we’ve got about $55K of known expenses related to this program.  But we also want to provide him post-program monitoring, counseling, career options, and financial support in order to give him an out-sized chance at a sustained recovery this time.  All-in, we’d like to raise a minimum of $55K to cover the program, with a target of $100K to provide an extended timeline of care and support. 

CNQ, this is a rare opportunity where we all have a chance to significantly help a dear classmate and friend before you receive that dreaded graduate death notice in your inbox.   Please donate what you can to help, and check back….if we have not raised our target, please keep giving.  And we ask that you don’t be anonymous, add a note to Joe and show your name and $ amount, large or small, so all can see how we came together as a class to help a friend.  Thank you all for your consideration.  Go Army, CNQ86 rules.

Dean Dorman and John Noble
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CNQ classmates,

This will be the final entry on the Joe Gleeson GoFundMe campaign, and after this I will remove the page/event. John Noble and I have been in good touch with Joe and his care team over the last 8 months, and he is doing extremely well. About 400 of you contributed to his recovery campaign, and have directly enabled a real chance at a permanent recovery for Joe. Through your generosity, we have been able to afford a strong treatment program and a highly dedicated care team to focus on Joe for the last 8 months, with a bit left over to keep it going a while longer. There are many to thank, but we'll let Joe do that personally. Of particular thanks is the amazing Tampa area West Point '86 group who have taken Joe to events, holiday dinners, A-N viewing, etc. They have been just great to Joe. And so many others of you have reached out over the months and connected with Joe, it means the world to him. Anyway, as Joe conveys, this is a work-in-process (never over), but he wanted to share his sentiments with CNQ in a personal note below, please read on. If any of you would like to reach Joe: cell-phone 872.800.8889. address: 5401 1st Ave S., St. Petersburg, FL 33707. Please reach out.

Warmest regards, and we thank you all.
John and Dean


Note from Joe:

It is just an absolute privilege to have the opportunity to communicate with this group given that I have obviously been the recipient of such an overwhelming outpouring of support from "Courage Never Quits". Wow... how in the world does one convey the immense amount of gratitude that is warranted in this case? The answer, of course, is that I can't even begin to appropriately thank this group via a few paragraphs in an e-mail message. Clearly, the only way I can truly thank the Class of '86 is through my actions and therefore the things that I do have to unquestionably lead to long term sobriety. Anything else will obviously be empty and meaningless.

So... that of course begs the question "How have things been going since I entered an inpatient recovery program back in the middle of June?" The answer to that hypothetical query is that things are going as well as can possibly be expected and that is due in large part to everything that CNQ has done on my behalf. I have resided at a sober living facility in St. Petersburg since August and continue to spend a significant part of each day working on my recovery from alcoholism. My Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor picks me up every day at 6:00 am for the daily AA meeting we attend and I then periodically meet with recovery professionals who are very helpful in working with me on what it is going to take to sustain sobriety long term. I also participate in the Bay Pines VA Substance Abuse Treatment Program and get there once a week in order to do so. In mid-December I started a full time job so that I can begin taking responsibility for my financial obligations, both past and present. The job definitely sucks but it is appropriately humbling and the hours are afternoon/evening and therefore do not interfere with the reason that I am here in Florida in the first place.

Having said all of that, I had dinner with one of our classmates a few weeks ago and it was great to see him again and catch up on things. At one point, he interrupted our conversation and said something along the lines of: "...what you are up to sounds great and all; but, how do we know that you are not just full of shit again like you have been in the past?" He certainly didn't intend for me to share that with everyone but it was a damn good question. After struggling for a moment or two I finally just conveyed that I can't answer that question because there really is no credible way for me to do so. What I can do however is stay completely focused on what I do every day to achieve lasting sobriety. As I do so, the question will eventually answer itself. How long will that take? I don't know and realistically there is no finish line or end point. For the time being, as long as I keep making progress each day, even if it is just a small amount, that definitely represents some measure of success.

I'll finish up by referring back to our class motto. Does it require "courage" to stop drinking when a person has pretty much ruined his life and harmed countless others through his alcoholism? It clearly and obviously should not. Did it take courage for me to not pick up a drink over these last 7+ months? I don't know as that depends on how we define "courage". It has certainly taken things that resemble courage though like commitment, perseverance, determination, etc and each of those are very much enabled by inspiration. I have never really lacked for sources of inspiration but I have unquestionably allowed extremely deep seeded denial to absolutely and repeatedly take over. There is obviously no such thing as "too much" when it comes to inspiration and the inspiration I have gotten from all of you has been incalculable. Thank you so very, very much and there is no way that I am going to lose focus on the blatantly obvious fact that it is what I do that matters, not what I put into words in an e-mail message...
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CNQ Classmates,
I wanted to provide a final (hopefully final) update on Joe on this GoFundMe site, and will also ask Roger to post it to FB and also to the full class distribution list.
I say “final” because Joe is doing well and is ready to move to the next phase of his recovery, which is renewed connections with close friends (many of you) and family, getting back to work, and focusing on his sustained recovery for many years to come, ideally permanently. Joe has started his 3rd month in a top-notch recovery program (again thanks to all of you), has a terrific and seasoned care team, and is sounding better than I have heard him in years. He has pep in his step again, and true optimism for a permanent recovery and life ahead. He still has a long tough road ahead of him, including many more months in this great support program, but he’s truly on a good path right now. You should all feel a profound and personal role in his improving health.
The heart of this update is to provide you with Joe’s contact information, as promised. Many of you sent great notes to Joe as you contributed, and many of you asked how to reach out to him. His care team wanted to wait a bit to ensure Joe was ready for the outreach, and to give him time to focus exclusively on himself and his recovery. All feel the time is right (as does Joe!) to start talking to old friends and classmates. So, please call him, text him, go visit him (once or many times), send him letters, send him motivational notes, send him “boodle” packages, whatever you can. Try to do something, it all helps. Also, he is getting to the point where he will want to start a career again by November or December, so if any of you have the ability to hire him, refer him to a friend, or help him in this regard, please make that a key point when you reach to him.
Joe Gleeson
5401 First Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33707
Joe’s direct cell and txt: 872-800-8889 (he does not seem to get some of his TXT’s, so better to call him, leave a v/m if he cannot answer)
He lives in an apartment known as part of the “Real Recovery” program. There is also a house, but Joe is at the apartment, in case you go looking for him. Call first, as he has many scheduled meetings away from that area every day.
Second to last point – money. We raised just about $100K (our target), and just over $95K after GoFundMe fees, from 365 of you, nearly all from the class of ’86, plus a few of Joe’s family and close non-academy friends. Wow!! That is nothing short of spectacular. We spent nearly half of that to date on the first 3 months of the program (just getting him to FL and the first intensive month of the program was over $30K), but have about $50K left to help Joe over the coming months with additional program support and whatever else he needs to get 100% back on his feet. I am keeping robust financial records, and will ensure that every penny gets to Joe or his family in support of this cause….there is no artificial timeline, we want to do it right.
In closing, I want to repeat something I’ve written before, and have said to many of you who called over the last several months. John Noble and I are completely blown away by CNQ and your rapid willingness to lend a hand (and $’s) to help a dear friend in need. I can say we are truly humbled by all of this, far beyond our expectations. We are a powerful group of classmates, a very special group, and we are both honored to be among you all.
Warmest regards to all, CNQ to the end!
Deano and Nobes
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CNQ86 and Friends of Joe Gleeson:

After an unbelievable 2 weeks of raising funds to support Joe, I wanted to send a note to the 315 classmates and friends/family that stepped-up to support Joe both financially and with kind words of inspiration. I can tell you unequivocally from discussions with Joe that those messages are a powerful source of strength to him, and he plans to connect with every one of you, at the right time, with thanks and a reply.
First, the most important part – Joe. He is doing very well. John Noble and I, along with Joe’s care team, talk with him consistently. He exited the intensive inpatient program about 2 weeks ago, and is now in a safe and well-managed after-care outpatient program where he has a robust care team of counselors, coaches, and therapists to help him. We’d like him to stay in that program for several more months, until he is 100% ready to “get back to regular life” again, and to a point where temptations from the past are solidly behind him. This will be the most custom and intensive after-care program that Joe has ever received, thanks to all of you, and we believe this is his best chance ever for a sustained and successful full recovery.
Second, the fun part. Thanks to 315 of you (thus far) we have raised about $87,500 for Joe! To say we are all stunned is an understatement. CNQ really showed up in a profound way. I am deeply proud to be part of this extraordinary class. This money will go 100% to Joe’s care, every penny. I will be the only one who will have access to it, and will withdrawal it, as needed, to pay for Joe’s care, past and future. We hope for him to stay in his current focused outpatient program for many more months, and after that will use whatever is left to help him get set-up for success on a new life, ideally in Florida or Cincinnati, near family.
Third, contacting Joe. Joe’s care team has advised that for the first several weeks following the inpatient program, he should just focus on his health and his recovery. This is an important time for him to reflect and gain renewed conviction. Within a week or two from now, Roger or I will update this group with Joe’s full contact information (address, cell phone, email, etc.). At that time, we encourage you all to call him, write to him, or visit him. As much as you can. He will need you all. He is in Clearwater Florida, so if any of you find yourself near St. Pete or Tampa in the coming quarter or two, please add to your plans to drop in and see Joe. Also, in a few months, Joe will want to find a new career. Several of you have already sent notes that you may have something for him, but for others, please shoot me a note as I will be collecting all possible leads. Opportunities need to be in Florida or Cinci at this point, sorry to be limiting.
Finally I want to thank Roger and MaryEllen for their excellent support in reaching out to the entire class of ‘86, and to classmates like Terry Finley, Rick Minicozzi, and so many others for their active support and involvement in helping Joe over the years. And of course, thanks to all of you for your kindness and generosity and willingness to jump in and help a friend in need. The deepest thanks go to Brother Barry, Joe’s family, and John Noble who have been consistently by Joe’s side over the last decade or so, without them I don’t think any of us would have had made it this far. And a final thank you to Joe’s care team, headed up by the capable Brad Baker.
I will update again, down the road, happy summer to you all.

Dean ‘86
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$102,302 of $100,000 goal

Raised by 381 people in 13 months
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