Straight and Arrow - Joe Vaz With Text

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A couple of months ago we received an email. As you might imagine we receive a lot of emails every day. This particular was very different from the ones we usually receive. It was from a man named Joe who had recently lost his wife of almost 36 years and had decided to run 5K’s to keep her memory alive. Joe was looking for a t-shirt that would reflect that goal as he ran.

It’s hard to chat with Joe without smiling. In spite of the tragedy of losing his long time partner and companion Joe is upbeat, quick to laugh, and still very, very much in love with Liza his wife. The way he talks about her could restore the most cynical person’s faith in love. I had the good fortune to chat with Joe about his race and his reasons for racing. I hope this Q&A will inspire you like it inspired me.

 

FA: What neighborhood do you call home?
Joe: Sandy Springs is our neighborhood
 
FA: How long have you lived in Atlanta?
Joe: About 32 years
 
FA: How did you end up here?
Joe:  Liza’s parents were living here at the time
 
FA: Tell us a little about what inspires you or makes you tick?  
Joe: Right now my major inspiration are my 2 boys Eric (19) and Alexander (15) – they are truly great kids – besides that I have been fortunate enough to be able to travel to many parts of the world – love to travel, sports and also to be outdoors skiing, hiking, fishing etc…..
 
FA: Tell us a little bit about your wife?
Joe: My wife Liza was truly a special person – I met her in Miami soon after High School 1977 – she was from the nice side of the tracks(Coral Gables) – we dated for almost 2 years and decided to get married, but our parents disapproved so we eloped at 20. It wasn’t an ideal situation at a young age, but we pulled thru and were relatively successful in life. Liza was in the music industry for over 20 years and took countless friends/kids to meet artists backstage, she was the cool/hip Mom. Liza was a truly an attractive woman, but her inner light was even more beautiful – she rescued countless animals and helped many friend and family members. She described herself as “festive” and was definitely fun to be around. God only knows how much I miss her, but man was I blessed to be with her for almost 36 years. You could not ask for more in a Mom or Wife. Talking about inspiration – she always inspired me and still does to this day. Liza was born in Manhattan and moved to San Juan about 13 and then to Miami about 15. She loved our boys dearly.
 
FA: What inspired you run as a way to honor your wife?
Joe: I want to continue talking about her and maybe running brings that – also everytime I run I think about her and talk to her.
 
FA: What does the future look like for you? Will you be running more races?
Joe: I will probably run more races – I would love to run also in Miami – I have never been a long distance runner, but I guess it helps me.
 
FA: Tell people where they can find you and learn more about your story?
Joe: By email: jvaz@aol.com