Sidewalk counselors save lives: Retired firefighter keeps up efforts despite health Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Feb. 16, 2012 -- 12:00 AM

Editor's View by Mary C. Uhler

We all know that firefighters save lives by battling fires in our homes, offices, schools, and even our churches.

There is one retired firefighter in Wisconsin, however,  who is saving lives on the streets. He is not putting out fires. Instead, he is a sidewalk counselor in Milwaukee, saving lives outside of an abortion clinic.

Working on the last front line

On February 4, Joe was responsible for saving the life of an unborn baby, one of many lives saved so far in 2012, reported Pro-Life Wisconsin. “I’ve always been pro-life,” said Joe, “and saving mothers and babies is vital work. The sidewalk is the place for that work. It is the last front line to try to turn a woman around.”

What makes Joe’s witness especially important is that he himself is fighting Stage Four brain cancer. He was diagnosed in November of 2011, after retiring from the Milwaukee Fire Department in September after 31.5 years of service. Since his diagnosis, he has been going through radiation and chemotherapy.

“I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in my illness,” he said. “I had surgery in November for tumor removal, and they were able to get all of it. I have no neurological deficits from the surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, or any other negative effects, by the grace of God.”

It was always his intention to give more time to volunteer opportunities after his retirement, especially the sidewalk counseling. “God wants me there, and I’ll be there as often as I can. And I’d like to encourage all to come down to the (abortion) mill, witness the evil, and act/pray to end it. We speak to women with dignity and respect, we encourage, offer support, alternatives, and prayer. Each time there, it is an emotional, spiritual experience. I highly recommend it,” said Joe.

Following his example

For those interested in following Joe’s example, there is a Pro-Life Activist Training Camp being held at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison on Saturday, Feb. 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is being sponsored by Pro-Life Wisconsin, Vigil for Life, the Diocese of Madison, and the Wisconsin State Council of the Knights of Columbus.

The training will provide both conceptual information (learning how the abortion industry targets the poor, the marginalized, racial minorities, and children; how to answer common objections to the pro-life message) and practical hands-on information (how to help heal post-abortive men and women, how to sidewalk counsel, how to protect yourself if you’re ever rendered unable to make your own medical decisions).

Presentations and presenters will include:

• “Men and Abortion,” by Bob Atwell, founding board member of Relevant Radio and co-executive producer of Bella.

• “Sidewalk Counselor Training,” by JT Eschbach of Pro-Life Action League, Chicago, Ill.

• “Post-abortion Counseling,” by Mary Mead of Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More.

• “Medical Decision Making,” by Marisa Beffel of the Catholic Medical Association.

• “Educating Your Legislators,” by Matt Sande of Pro-Life Wisconsin.

• “Planned Parenthood Exposed,” by Jerry Schmutte of Pro-Life Wisconsin.

• “Answering the Hard Questions,” by Patrick Delaney of the Diocese of Madison.

To register go to or call 262- 796-1111, ext. 10. Registration is $8 per individual or $20 for a family. Lunch is included.

Sidewalk counseling does save lives. Please consider attending this training camp to find out how you can follow in Joe’s footsteps and do what you can to help save babies.