Joey Hale puts word ‘ability’ in what could have been disability

Published 2:06 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2011

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

I have seen Joey Hale a million times as I shopped at Publix on Valleydale Road. He is always kind, works hard and has such a sweet spirit.

Many times I have gone hurriedly shopping — running up and down aisles to grab and go through the checkout line to the next event of the day. Each time there was Joey smiling, making nice conversation and patiently helping me to my car.

One day I asked Joey if I could write a story about him when I discovered there is even more to him than I already knew. He handed me a card with and told me there was a documentary being made about him.

Shelby County’s Joey Hale. (Contributed)

Joey and his family were hit by a drunk driver when he was 4 and his sister was 5. They both suffered head traumas, and their father was in a body cast for a year and a half.

Joey later developed a brain tumor for which the surgery would leave him paralyzed, partially blind and mute. With little hope of his recovery, Joey overcame obstacles and staggering statistics to live a happy and productive life.

Joey has worked at the Shelby County YMCA for 19 years and at Publix and Hamburger Heaven to name a few.

Recently, Joey experienced yet another setback when his friend and director of his documentary, J. Neil Bloomer passed away. His grief is just one more thing for Joey to overcome, and he will.

Many people have a strong work ethic, but few have such a pleasant personality and disposition to go with it. At 41 years old, Joey is a rare find and an inspiration to all who meet him.

Joey Hale has touched countless thousands of peoples’ lives. He has a special God-given gift to communicate kindness and give help to others.

Joey has put the word ability in what could have been a disability and the world is a far better place because he has.  Please visit his Facebook fan page at and “like” it for him. Give back just a little of the joy to Joey that he gives so many of us.

Beth Chapman, Alabama’s secretary of state, is a Shelby County resident and writes a weekly column for the Shelby County Reporter. You can reach her at