Giving Is Easy When It Comes from the Heart

Joe Gallenstein, Tampa Electric’s Senior IT Project Manager, and his daughter Alexis have witnessed multiple family members impacted by heart disease. Mary, Joe’s mom, developed a heart condition after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Research allowed for treatment and medication that extended Mary’s life by many years before her passing in 2017.

Volunteer youth archery coach. Air Force veteran. Donor. Those are all ways to accurately describe Tampa Electric’s Senior IT Project Manager Joe Gallenstein. Joe’s reasons for giving come from the heart.

“The American Heart Association (AHA) has a place close to my heart for family reasons. To me, giving is just an extension of my gratitude for family,” said Joe.

Joe's story starts when his mother, Mary, developed a heart condition after being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs. While there is not much that can be done for COPD itself, improving your heart is the best way to combat it.

Knowing his mom was ill, Joe and his daughter Alexis moved from North Carolina to Florida in 2004. Fortunately, research allowed for treatment and medication that extended Mary’s life by many years. With extra time together, Alexis created fond memories with her grandmother before Mary’s passing in 2017.

Unfortunately, Mary’s battle with COPD is not the only tragedy Joe and his loved ones have endured. In 2011, his wife Kelly passed away at the age of 53 after a nine-month battle with ovarian cancer. Given every reason to distance himself from others, Joe’s passion for giving back grew even stronger.

“I’ve been a longtime supporter and I constantly donate to the AHA,” said Joe, who also donates to the American Cancer Society in Kelly’s memory. “Out of all the bad that has happened, I have been fortunate to see how these organizations positively impact families and the community.”

In addition to the devastating loss of both Mary and Kelly, Joe’s close cousin gave birth to a baby girl who was born with an undiagnosed heart condition. Living in a small town in Kentucky, medical resources for Madison, the newborn, were extremely limited. Thanks to the AHA, transportation and lodging was provided; allowing Madison to be cared for at a larger hospital for more advanced and higher quality treatment.

“I can’t imagine knowing your hands are tied when your child is having problems,” said Joe. “Fortunately for organizations such as the AHA, Madison is now seven years old, healthy and even playing basketball for her school.”

Despite all of life’s obstacles, Joe, a volunteer youth coach and military veteran, continues to find selfless ways to make the world a better and healthier place. And there’s no question Joe's heart is always in the right place.



You can join Tampa Electric team members such as Joe to reach our company fundraising goal of $400,000 before Nov. 4's Heart Walk with Tampa Electric’s President and CEO Archie Collins as the Chair. 

Visit Tampa Electric’s Heart Walk pagejoin a team and donate. We need your help because more money raised means more loved ones’ lives saved. Even the smallest donation can make a big difference. Please make a donation and support Tampa Electric today!