21-year-old Joey Florio was involved in a serious car accident leaving him with a traumatic brain injury. Shortly afterward, Joey became a patient at the San Antonio Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital with two goals in mind: to improve his leisure skills and abilities and to explore vocational options.
Before his injury Joey had been a structural welder. Initially, his goal was to return to work in that capacity. After numerous attempts to convince various welding companies to interview him, it became apparent that Joey's physical limitations with motor controlled employers to believe he was unable to meet the job expectations. Since the physical job requirements called for climbing and steady hand movement, prospective employers perceived that Joey could not safely perform these tasks.
Joey decided to try a different route to at train his goal of getting back to welding. He had always been interested in free hand drawing, scratch art and stained glass. Since his accident, Joey had not been able to work on his art. After several brainstorming sessions with therapists at Warm Springs, they agreed that stained glass art production met his therapy goals of improving his leisure skills and vocational capabilities, and his personal goal of returning to welding. Joey's therapists challenged him with specific details to design a suncatcher cross.One week later, Joey delivered a handmade cross sun catcher. Warm Springs employees and patients were amazed by the precision and detail of Joey's work. Joey's stained glass talent proved his ability to successfully perform a soldering task, which is very similar to welding. He has gone above and beyond making the cross design by adding hearts, frogs, angels, doves and Texas stars to his design portfolio.
Joey was asked by Warm Springs' publicist Rebecca Martinez to design a Texas star for the 15th anniversary celebration of the San Antonio Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital. He successfully completed 15 of the artworks for presentation to special invited guests at a ceremony held in March. The stained glass commemorative pieces were a testament to his ability to succeed and were a vibrant reflection of Warm Springs’ commitment of caring.
Recently, Joey and his mother, an artist and craftsperson of the highest caliber, attended a welding class together and it was reported that Joey was the most skilled student in the class. His ability to maneuver the torch and his knowledge of safety procedures was proficient enough that mother and son are planning to produce a line of metal sculpture for the garden.