The strength of family
The strength of family
Joseph Pagano, 72, is a Syracuse resident and retired business executive. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis early on in his professional career, he’s spent the past few years volunteering and supporting small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Syracuse community. He’s been volunteering with SCORE, a local nonprofit focused on educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses start, grow, and succeed, for over 15 years, bringing his expertise to the local business community.
Although he has limited mobility, Pagano continues to exercise his core and upper body. This strength allows him to lift himself out of his wheelchair and onto his lawnmower, which he uses to mow his lawn and those of his neighbors. He doesn’t mind mowing the lawn — in fact, he enjoys it. “It helps me feel normal,” Pagano said. Pagano isn’t in the mindset to let COVID-19 or MS keep him from doing what he loves and being with the ones he loves.
Although he continues to stay occupied at home through his exercise and volunteering, Pagano is an extrovert and traveler at heart. He visits Florida every winter to escape the Syracuse winters and loves to connect with new people. Thankfully, SCORE pivoted their mentorship to an online and mobile format, which allows Pagano to continue his work. But what keeps him grounded is his family. His son and his daughter in law have recently moved from Brooklyn to Syracuse, which provided a bright spot for Pagano during the pandemic.
Thanks to his ADA-accessible, hand-controlled van, Pagano is able to visit his son and his grandchildren every week. Pagano enjoys driving and used to drive for Uber and Lyft before the pandemic hit. “My children made sure I stopped doing that,” Pagano said, speaking about driving for rideshare in the beginning weeks of COVID-19.
Instead of driving around, Pagano now spends more time playing with his grandchildren, who love to race around outside. With the grandchildren, there’s always something new to show, whether that be a digital coloring book, school portraits, or Halloween costumes. Although COVID-19 may be shutting down stores and closing borders, the one thing that will remain a constant is Joseph Pagano’s love for his family and theirs for him.