While college football fans across Conference USA celebrated the return to normalcy that the first week of the football season typically provide, tragic news struck over the weekend that left many of us feeling lost and confused.
Joe Suhoski, Old Dominion Super Fan and loving friend to all, passed away from a battle with an illness on September 1st, 2018, at just 40 years of age.
Well known on Twitter as @VABeachRep, Joe was one of the most popular fans in Conference USA, and for good reason. On a platform rife with anger, arguments, and bitterness, Joe used his platform as an outlet to spread love and charity to both friends and strangers. Besides his constant rants against the popular Mexican food chain Chipotle, Joe’s second favorite topic to Tweet about was a simple message — “Love each other.”
They weren’t just empty words from Joe. As he traveled across the country to support his alma mater at Old Dominion games, Joe would make time to meet as many of his Twitter friends as he could. His wonderful, caring nature instantly became apparent after spending just a few minutes with him.
After becoming great friends on Twitter and hosting Joe on my podcast, I was fortunate enough to meet the man himself in 2015. Joe had traveled to San Antonio to watch his Monarchs defeat UTSA 36-31 and made the absolute most of his trip.
We had a blast chatting about all of the different Conference USA campuses we had visited, the fellow fans we had met, and how much we enjoyed being fans of teams that played in this conference. Joe took a quick liking to San Antonio, proclaiming his love for Big Red soda, Deep Eddy vodka, and Whataburger hamburgers to a crowd of extremely pleased Texans.
Fans across practically every fan base in Conference USA have similar stories of their time with Joe. His positive and tender personality left a lasting impact on people across the country but Joe made the largest impact in his own community thanks to his dedicated support of the Maryland Food Bank.
If you are angry about a football game, please consider donating to your local food bank. Even “only” $5.00 can do a world of good.— Joe Suhoski (@VaBeachRep) November 20, 2017
Joe was an incredibly charitable man who had a personal mission of making sure not a single stomach in America went to sleep empty. While Joe made his own financial contributions to food banks across the country, he would constantly remind his friends to make small sacrifices so that others could enjoy a warm meal when they were down on their luck.
While Joe’s bright smile will no longer populate tailgates and Twitter timelines across the country, Joe’s generous spirit can live on in all of us. I urge all of you to join me in making a financial contribution to your local food bank. If money is tight for you at the moment food banks are always looking for volunteers to help with packing and unloading food. A handful of dollars or a few hours of work can make a world of difference for the 1 in 6 people across America that face nutrition deficiencies.
Joe’s family will celebrate his life at St. Adalbert Church, 160 South 15th Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203 on Saturday September 8th at 10:00 am.
Rest in peace Joe. You left this world a much better place than you found it.