Following an airplane crash in September 2000, John Trifiletti suffered a spinal cord injury, paralyzing his legs. It was a turning point for both him and his wife Diane, also injured in the crash. They are convinced that only “divine intervention” saved them from death. Despite confinement to a wheelchair, John refuses to let it slow him down. Married 33 years and the father of two wonderful children, John never stopped working hard, even after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In addition to his full-time position as Instructional Program Manager of Computer Information Systems at Florida Community College at Jacksonville, John volunteers countless hours helping others in need. “Each year seems to get busier,” says John, “Helping others is a sacrifice of time, resources, and energy; but the rewards are the smiles, warm handshakes, and seeing the success of those I have helped.”
For the past four years, John has served on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for the Lost Boys of Sudan, an all-volunteer 501c3 foundation that was established to meet the health and educational needs of the Lost Boys o Sudan. John’s efforts have been a key to the organization’s success. He has played a major role in helping the organization to obtain grants and scholarships for the Lost Boys, including a $30,000 grant he recently proposed and was awarded from Florida Community College Foundation. This grant will allow countless Lost Boys and Girls to receive a college education. In addition, John is a mentor for many of the Sudanese students, helping them with various tasks such as filling out financial forms, course studies, computer questions and repairs, and life in general. He is a constant means of support and guidance to these incredible young refugees as they struggle to adjust and succeed in their new lives in America.
In addition to his efforts on behalf of the Alliance, John serves on the Board of Directors for five other nonprofit organizations, including Jacksonville Sister Cities Association (JSCA), Independent Living Resource Center (ILRC), John recently helped plan the state sponsored Emergency Preparedness Conference for Persons with Disabilities. He has arranged cultural, educational, political, and student exchanges between Jacksonville and its first Sister City, Bahia Blanca, Argentina for many years.
John recently chaired JSCA’s fundraising efforts to purchase 40 wheelchairs for disabled individuals in Bahia Blanca, and led a humanitarian delegation to Bahia Blanca last July to deliver the wheelchairs. His speech at the ceremony, attended by their mayor, brought the recipients and their agency representatives to tears. He continues to raise funds for the remaining 67 individuals still in need of wheelchairs. John is also the founder of North Florida Oracle Users Group, a professional association for students and computer industry professionals that allows students the opportunity of meeting and learning from computer professionals and potential employers.
In John’s words, “life is all about helping others.” In his spare time, John enjoys making beautiful bowls, pens, and bottle stoppers from exotic woods from around the world, much of which he uses to raise funds for his numerous charitable causes. His unique woodwork has been featured in American Woodworker magazine.