A Fortunate Life Includes Giving Back
After two accidents that required life-saving care at Morristown Medical Center, Joe Longo is sure the name “Lucky Joe” is meant only for him. He feels grateful for the expert medical care he received for a severe leg infection as a young child and a critical head injury he sustained later in his twenties, which led to his immense generosity toward the hospital.
A bequest that will be directed toward the hospital’s Annual Fund and donations to the Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, COVID-19 Support Fund and Geriatric Center of Excellence are ways he has said thank you for several new beginnings.
“I was working with my dad at the company he founded, J.R. Longo & Sons; while moving equipment, a trolley split and crashed on my head. The odds were 9,999 out of 10,000 that I wouldn’t survive. It was Calamity-Ville. The fact that I can talk about the incident is pivotal. Thanks be to God and Morristown Medical Center.”
After recuperating from the head injury that required 26 stitches and months of recovery, Longo had the chance to live his version of happily ever after and went on to marry the love of his life, Madeline. “Other people said our relationship was unparalleled,” he said. “It was true. I believed it and lived it.” The couple raised two children, Joe and Maria, while at the same time, Longo grew J.R. Longo & Sons from three employees to 175, with annual revenue of $25 million. Joe Longo’s son, Joseph M. Longo, grew up in the business just as his father had done and is now the third generation of Longo men at the helm running the company, presently called Longo Electrical-Mechanical, Inc.
The 95-year-old grandfather of ten dished out the secrets to his winning business strategy in three easy life lessons. First, he learned to tackle negative situations positively. “Problems are opportunities in work clothes,” he said. “When I understood that, it flipped my relationship with customers and business philosophy. In the old days, before I knew this, when problems came along, I started whining – not recognizing that it always ended up being another big opportunity of a lifetime.”
Another secret to Longo’s success was his ability to master the art of humility early on. He carries an eraser in his shirt pocket next to his pencil. “I was never afraid to admit that I had made a mistake. My clients appreciated the honesty – it helped me not come off as boastful and made for some long-lasting bonds.”
The longtime Morristown resident surprises many when he talks of the next lesson. “One of the best things for me was to grow up poor,” Longo said. “It served me so well. As a child, I remember not being able to get an ice cream cone when other kids got one. It gave me a great sense of ambition and a drive to do well so that I could afford those little luxuries. It gave me a sense of value, propriety, rigor and wanting to do a good job. And doing a good job doesn’t sound like much, but people assess you every minute – I always had the reputation of doing a good job.”
To learn how you can support Morristown Medical Center through Legacy Giving, contact Cynthia W. O’Donnell, JD, director of gift planning, at 973-593-2418 or visit giftplanning.f4mmc.org.