By Suzanne Whelan
Have you seen this man?
Odds are that most of you answer yes!
Meet Joe Pelley, aka “The MOC”. Joe was dubbed “The MOC” by his many friends because he is a Man of Character. However, he jokingly refers to himself as a “Mean Old Codger.”
This humble 79 year old Ponte Vedra resident has been a welcome sight as he walks through all the beaches area neighborhoods each and every morning and has done for the last seven years.
Joe began walking in March of 2008 and has since walked 17,226 miles (the equivalent of walking from New York to San Francisco SIX times!) and lost 140 lbs. He has been spotted walking as far north as Atlantic Blvd, as far south as Micklers Landing and even over the bridges on San Pablo Rd. Those legs have some miles on them!
Prior to walking, Joe covered some distance on his road bike. Amazingly, he has biked over 157,000 miles! This includes riding across country from LA to Boston (46 days), from Ponte Vedra to Key West numerous times and the 28 times he participated in the MS 150. He proudly informed me that, over the last 24 years, his team for the MS 150 has raised over $1,000,000! In addition to impressive feats of endurance, Joe has carried the torch for the Olympic Games, and achieved great depths with SCUBA diving, over 200 dives with one to 195 ft!!
Clearly this is an amazing man who has accomplished extraordinary things. For him, though, life is about the journey and not the destination. He emphasizes that he never set out to walk or bike this far or dive this deep, IT JUST HAPPENED! The MOC is very quick to defer recognition of his achievements and instead focus on counting his blessings and giving kudos to all of his many friends for all of their support.
It seems to me that he has discovered the secret to enjoying life by focusing on being fully present in each moment, living healthfully, keeping busy and having a positive attitude. I hope that each of us, as we enter this New Year, are inspired to realize these characteristics and incorporate them into our own lives.