2018 RAISE Award: Outstanding Stroke Survivor

Joe Charles AKA GI Joe

Stroke survivor Joe Charles leaves his house at 4:30 a.m. to arrive at the Manhattan Beach Pier an hour before the start of his 6 a.m. workout class that he has been holding for 18 years.

Through his GI Joe Bootcamp classes Charles simply asks his students to do their best. He never gives up, gives 110 percent of himself and has improved considerably over the years since his stroke in 2015. No matter how bad he feels or what the weather is, he’ll be there with a mental attitude to never give up.

Charles does community events throughout the South Bay area and tells everyone his story. He has touched many lives and has quite a following throughout South Bay. He’s made numerous videos, is still active in fitness training, and motivates people to keep trying.

Following his stroke, some thought Charles would never walk or talk again but just two years later he was back, more determined than ever to stay positive and motivate others. In addition to his bootcamp classes, Charles organizes a pier to pier run/walk that raises money for various charities and has a push-up challenge each year.