A Word From the Board - Joe Maas


"Thank God for the PXE community"
by Joe Maas
PXE International Board of Directors 

Joe Maas

I grew up as the middle child with six brothers and two sisters and my two parents in a 1200 square foot house. My father had a small neighborhood meat store that barely broke even. During tough economic times the store especially struggled. My siblings and I all went to work at the meat store at early ages to help support the family. My parents instilled in us a strong work ethic and a devout faith in God.

When I graduated from high school, it was clear that all of my brothers and sisters could not stay in the meat store, so I attended the University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy while still working full time at the meat store. In my last year of college (1980), the economy was struggling which had my father trying to sell our meat and deli products to local restaurants. Since then the wholesale business has grown remarkably (we sold the retail store in 1985). JTM Food Group, as the wholesale business is named, now employs over 300 people and has sales in excess of $80 million. These life experiences have taught me the importance of family, community, commitment and the well being of all God´s children.

In 1999, my son Kevin was diagnosed with PXE. Just the sort of thing that challenges one's hope and faith. Thank God for the PXE community. At first I thought Sharon Terry was kidding when she pointed out that one of the traits expressed by the ABCC6 gene mutation was niceness. Now I know it is totally true. During my 10 years with PXE, I have seen significant progress being made finding better treatments especially for ocular bleeds and advancing toward a cure. I will continue to extend my prayers and assistance to help advance the mission of PXE International. I know that with God, all things are possible.

Joe Maas
[March 2009]