Community celebrates Struthers man’s 62 birthday after a life of defying odds

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It was an unforgettable day for an unforgettable man

STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – The birthday parade for Joey Wittkugle was an outstanding success and a day the Struthers family will never forget.

It was an unforgettable day for an unforgettable man.

Nearly 100 cars, trucks, motorcycles, semi-trucks and first responders drove by Sunday afternoon to wish Joey a happy birthday.

On Monday, he’s turning 62.

Joey couldn’t keep the smile off his face.

His almost 90-year-old mother, Bobbi, was told he wouldn’t live past 11, so the emotions were extremely high on Sunday as she saw how many people came out to show their love and support for Joey.

“I didn’t think that people would think this was important, but now I realize there were people in that parade that this really meant something to them, really realized that he’s human like you and I,” Bobbi said.

Mayor Cat Cercone-Miller even drove by in a police cruiser.

Bobbi was in tears as the parade went by. Those tears also represented how much Joey has overcome.

When he was born, doctors said he wouldn’t get far in life, but he’s proven them wrong every day since.

“I wish people today — that if you have this child and if your family wants to do something like this, don’t say no. Don’t say no,” Bobbi said.

She calls Joey a blessing from God. The parade showed her that others know he is, too.

She’s so happy to see Joey happy because she says she loves him more than anything.

“I think, honestly, when this young man goes, I will follow him because he is my life,” Bobbi said.

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