When you think of the word hero, many different people could come to mind. To you a hero might be a parent, soldier or even a man or woman in a cape. We at The Leaven are honored to work with a true hometown hero, our own Board President, Joe Allio.
Joe is better known as Chief Allio, and is a 30 year veteran of the Fairfield Police Department, serving as the Police Chief for the past 2 years. He has faithfully served multiple community organizations including serving as Board President for the Northern California Chapter of the Batten Disease Support and Research Association. Since joining The Leaven’s board, he has worked to help raise awareness for our programs, helping to ensure many needy children from our community receive the afterschool help they need. He has also engaged business partners and community leaders to join our Leaven family, including retired judge, Mike Nail.
Under Joe’s leadership The Leaven has opened the most centers ever in our history. Joe would meet with each new Site Director during our orientation to talk, inspire and pray for that center’s success. Joe’s visits to our Inland Empire location has been invaluable as he met with and encouraged local leaders to be involved in helping with Leaven activities in that region. Additionally, the entire organization has flourished because of the Board of Directors Joe has led – a cohesive and engaged group of people who tirelessly serve and provide direction. Under Joe’s leadership, the board has increased its governance function and heightened The Leaven’s transparency to our donors. (To learn more about transparency, check out “Transparency is nothing new at The Leaven” on our website.)
What many don’t know is that while Joe was giving so much of himself to his community, he and his family have had struggles of their own. Two of Joe’s daughters were diagnosed with Juvenile Batten Disease, a rare and fatal neurodegenerative disorder that starts in childhood and restricts a lifespan beyond adolescence. There is no cure. The eldest of these two girls, Caitlin, sadly passed away from the disease in 2012. The younger of his girls, Annie, continues her struggles today.
Joe recently announced his retirement from the Fairfield Police Department, and I had the privilege last Friday to join the community in thanking him for his faithful and dedicated service.
Joe has been a close friend of mine since I went on a ride-along with him when I was a teenager involved in the Police Cadet Program. I consider him to be a true Hometown Hero, and I am certain all who know him and his work at the Fairfield Police Department will surely miss his leadership and commitment to serving our community. We wish Joe and his family all the best and they start this new chapter in their lives, and thank him from the bottom of our hearts for his service to Fairfield.