Joe Palumbo Was the Muscular Arm of the Regulation

When bodybuilding followers go to the Olympia, there are a number of folks that they’ve gotten used to seeing yearly. Olympia President Dan Solomon all the time speaks at the start of the festivities, Bob Cicherillo is all the time on the mic able to announce, “and new” or “and nonetheless.” Steve Weinberger and the judges are at their seats, able to make the tough selections as to who will hoist the Sandow.

Then, to the left of the stage, in his seat, is Joe Palumbo, IFBB Professional bodybuilder and safety for the Olympia. His job is to be sure that the judges are in a position to do their jobs and defend IFBB Professional League President Jim Manion and Vice President Tyler Manion.

Palumbo’s accustomed to working in a protecting position as a result of that’s all he has recognized since he was 12 years previous. When his household arrived to the US in 1972, his father’s lawyer requested him what he wished to be when he grew up. Regardless that younger Joe was nonetheless studying English, he knew how you can reply that query.

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“I informed him that I wished to be a cop with muscle tissues,” he mentioned whereas laughing. “One thing simply popped in my head. That was the very first thing that got here to my thoughts, however ever since I actually wished to try this. I pursued that dream.”

Joe Palumbo adopted by means of on that aspiration when he enrolled within the Police Academy in New York in 1990. He recalled graduating and being sworn in as a police officer as one of many proudest moments of his profession and life.

“Once I really graduated from the police academy, it was identical to, ‘OK, I lastly made it. That’s Half 1,” he mentioned. That second got here in 1994, and he was on Foot Patrol for the NYPD. Most officers labored that beat for six months, however Palumbo can be behind the wheel inside three months. He would go on to affix the Nassau County Police Division later in his profession, and he finally turned a member of the SWAT workforce. Regardless that he had the chance to work his approach up within the ranks, he was happy to be doing what he did in that position, and he was in that place for the following 12 years.

“It was nice for me as a result of I used to be educated in each attainable state of affairs that could possibly be performed out, and all of the bases have been coated,” mentioned Palumbo. “I used to be simply so glad being a cop and doing what I used to be doing.”

2001 can be the 12 months that Palumbo’s life modified ceaselessly each personally and professionally. Having completed the objective of being a police officer, he now wished to work on the gold commonplace of muscle – turning into an IFBB Professional. Palumbo entered the 2001 NPC Masters Nationals and gained each the light-heavyweight and total titles. “Joe Swat” was now knowledgeable bodybuilder.

Not lengthy after that contest, New York Metropolis suffered the Sept. 11 assaults on the World Commerce Heart. Palumbo’s unit needed to be on standby for the primary few hours after the assaults in case different incidents befell. They might finally get the go-ahead to move to floor zero to assist the opposite first responders. Regardless that one of many darkest days in America’s historical past befell over 20 years in the past, Palumbo recalled the scene prefer it was yesterday.

“The clouds of smoke seemed so darkish, and you might take steps and step on a physique half,” he mentioned solemnly. “I get choked up nonetheless interested by it.”

Regardless of the tragedy of that day, Joe Palumbo recalled the sensation of unity that he felt from everybody round him within the aftermath of the assaults. The rebound of New York Metropolis and the sensation of widespread patriotism amongst all Individuals can be one which he’ll always remember.

“Serving this nation was an honor,” he mentioned proudly. “The sensation of togetherness as one nation beneath God all as brothers and sisters was one of many biggest emotions in my life.”

At that 12 months’s Olympia, Joe, Betty, and Ben Weider requested Palumbo to take the stage so they might honor him for his 9/11 efforts. Whereas he didn’t really feel he personally was worthy of being honored, he shifted his focus to accepting the popularity on behalf of everybody who helped at floor zero.

“Jim Schmaltz of Flex journal reached out whereas I used to be at Floor Zero, and he mentioned, ‘We’d like you to signify the bodybuilders and the folks that have been there on 9/11.’ I informed him that I used to be solely down there just a few instances,” mentioned Palumbo. “He mentioned that they wanted me to signify the game. In the event that they felt I used to be worthy of it, then I made a decision to do it. I don’t keep in mind what I mentioned up there, however I keep in mind saying that I accepted it for everybody that helped on Floor Zero.”

Palumbo competed a number of instances as knowledgeable over the following decade, together with on the Masters Olympia in 2002 and 2003. He positioned ninth in each contests. Away from the stage, he served the health trade by writing articles for health and regulation enforcement publications. He additionally provided coaching and vitamin insights to regulation enforcement officers and first responders that wished to be in higher form for work and life. He even helped members of the US Armed Forces.

“Since I used to be in form, individuals have been asking me how they might get into good condition,” he shared. “As soon as I began getting publicity within the magazines, different departments have been sending me emails asking to assist maintain their workforce members in form. I finally went on to change into a author for Tactical Edge and Tactical Response magazines. They trusted me as a result of I may relate to what they did and the careers they’d.”

Whereas he was thriving within the roles he had, Joe Palumbo confronted numerous stress that got here from his work. That’s why the fitness center was greater than an avenue for bodybuilding — it was his launch when he had a protracted day. He didn’t need to take the aggravation from work house. Lifting weights proved to be a psychological well being profit as a result of it served as a launch.

“The fitness center was my go-to place to eliminate the stress,” he defined. “The No. 1 factor that saved me, and I defined to others, was to make the fitness center to put to go to so you possibly can take out all of your anger. The weights are there, and also you don’t should take that anger house.”

Courtesy of Joe Palumbo

After a profession that spanned over twenty years, Palumbo retired in 2018. He now spends extra time round household and mates and is having fun with life. He by no means takes his regulation enforcement profession with no consideration, and he expresses as a lot gratitude for having the ability to do it, and for people who nonetheless do it, as folks that know him admire what he did.

“I loved my place, and I loved my job. As a matter of truth, I nonetheless miss it,” he admitted. “I considered myself as a proactive cop as a substitute of a reactive cop. In different phrases, I finished the crime earlier than it occurred. I nonetheless salute and thank each fellow member that’s nonetheless doing it.”

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