Love leads us to many places. For Scotsman Joseph Gormley, it landed him in America when he met and fell in love with an American girl, Erin. Since their marriage 2003, the couple has been grateful for their life here in South Florida. After 10 years of hard work and saving, they purchased a home in 2013 and then were thrilled to welcome their precious daughter, Hailey, 19 months ago. Joseph will tell you that he is definitely living the American dream. “Oh yes!” He exclaims in a thick Scottish brogue, “It truly is a wonderful country! I’m glad to call it home!”
Working diligently and always with a cheerful attitude, Joseph is humbled and grateful for his profession in our Land of Opportunity. For 14 years he has been working in various Broward schools (currently at Park Trails Elementary) as a custodian. In a quiet voice, Joseph says with gratitude, “I’ve got a good, steady job, we were able to save for and buy our home, and it’s a blessing that we are able to take care of things responsibly.”
For Christmas 2006, Erin bought Joseph a set of watercolor paints, planting a seed that would blossom into a hidden talent and deep desire to share his creativity with others. He set up a small studio in their home and began painting for fun. Soon after, friends and associates were paying him to create custom pieces.
From there, circumstances made a series of opportunities happen in Joseph’s favor. Although he gained no financial windfall, a painting he gave to a little girl in Scotland suffering from leukemia was auctioned on eBay to help with her medical expenses. When it sold for $8,000 to benefit the cause, Joseph made the decision to use his artwork to benefit others. “I realized that if I use the talent I was given to help others and not for my gain, I will be rewarded in ways that people may not understand.” Throughout our conversation, Joseph shares a variety of experiences that are peppered with people he’s met and how they have blessed his life in ways that are not financial, but are priceless nonetheless. Because he has been deeply affected by the blessings that come with giving, his life’s goal today is to use his art to raise $1,000,000 for charity.
Despite the fact that his paintings are prominently displayed at Marlins stadium, the Panthers stadium (BB&T) and in the Dolphins home stadium, Joseph’s gratitude and humble demeanor are refreshing. Reminding us several times throughout the interview that he is, “just a custodian,” Joseph is focused on dedicating time to his family, his job and the community that he is proud and excited to call home. He tells us, “My job as a custodian supports my family. My artwork supports my community.”
Currently, Joseph has been painting live at a variety of events to auction artwork for the benefit of the Marlins foundation. Some of his paintings have brought more than $25,000 each. Though he never benefits personally in any financial way, every painting that brings money to help others is another step closer to meeting his $1 million goal. When expressing his gratitude, which is always at the forefront of any conversation, Joseph graciously thanks famed baseball player Jeff Conine for his friendship, mentorship and encouragement. “He’s a nice man, and I’m lucky to call him my friend.”
In summation, we see that Joseph’s love for a Florida girl he met online turned into a deep love for America, a new way of life and a very happy family. Not only that, his love for painting created an opportunity for him to fall in love with the ability to help others and set future goals. Love does, indeed, lead us to many places.