Joe Beene’s story is an inspiration. He defied the odds. After 21 years of neck-to-toe paralysis, he’s a flourishing artist.
ODESSA, Texas – Every day Joe Beene puts a brush on the canvas.
“You throw paint on it and then cut it out,” Beene said.
Painting is the way he expresses what is in him.
“Art comes from the soul. For something to be art, it comes from the soul, and it is a reflection of the soul,” he said.
He never imagined that this is where the journey of life would take him.
“I played football. I wasn’t an artist, you know, like that was never my thing,” Beene said.
Growing up, football was his passion. He played for the legendary high school team, Odessa Permian, Mojo.
He was made famous by the book and movie “Friday Night Lights”.
“It wasn’t even in my mind not to play football,” Beene said.
November 8, 2000 was Beene’s senior year and the team had their last practice of the season. There were only about 15 minutes left.
“And I tackled someone and my neck came back. It was a routine tackle. It wasn’t a missed tackle; I didn’t lower my head or anything, ”he said.
Beene said it was a freak accident that left him standing still.
“I wasn’t supposed to live. I was airless for seven minutes.”
The accident left him paralyzed from neck to toe and unable to breathe on his own.
“They didn’t expect me to live all night or this week, and they said probably in seven years I would be dead,” Beene said.
“You don’t appreciate what you have until he’s gone,” he said.
While some people may have given up, Beene completed high school, college, became a personal trainer, and traveled the world speaking.
“We achieve in life what we pursue. Some people never achieve anything because they don’t pursue anything. So all you are going to pursue is what you are going to achieve.”
On his father’s 60th birthday, he said he found his new passion after having a conversation with God.
“And I asked the Lord, I said, ‘Lord, what can I do for my father, because he’s been 60,’ and the Lord said, ‘Paint him a picture.’ “
So he set up brushes and started painting with his mouth.
One of his first paintings hangs on the wall of his parents’ living room. Several years later, they are true works of art and in great demand.
“I pray for all my paintings. So the Lord says paint this, then it goes to the right person, ”Beene said.
He said he came here because he learned to get in shape mentally and physically. He exercises daily using special machines to keep his body strong.
And he said he didn’t want sympathy.
“I don’t want to be around someone who feels sorry for themselves. I want to be around someone who accomplishes something,” Beene said.
He painted a picture he called “Force”.
He said every painting has meaning and he’s not sure what it will look like until it’s completed, just like Life’s Journey.
You won’t know it until you get there.