Joe Elias Akiki

Joe grew up in Kfardebian, he went to Collège des Saints Coeurs, and then transferred to Collège des Frères – Baskinta. Joe was a smart, witty student. He liked Kung Fu and football, he was also a ski coach. His mother Nuhad calls him "the dynamo", in reference to his nonstop activity. Joe was also the vice president of the Kataeb's Students and Youth Department in his area.

After middle school, Joe enrolled in Institut Cortbawi SSCC – Adma, to major in "Electrotechnique", he graduated first in Lebanon, and he was awarded a college scholarship to pursue a bachelor's degree at Notre Dame University (NDU). However, a year later, the university's new administration cancelled students' scholarships, which pushed Joe to find a job to cover his tuition fees. He worked at the Port of Beirut grain silos from 2017 until the fateful August 4, 2020, as an electrical technician.

On August 3, his mother prepared his lunch box and Joe went to work, but he came back around 5:00 PM. She was surprised because his shift usually lasts for 24 hours, and he would be off the next day… Joe told her he swapped days off with his coworker to fix a breakdown at a friend's restaurant where there will be a celebration feast for the Transfiguration of Christ on August 6.

On August 4, Joe left to the port at 3:00 AM. At 6:07 PM a huge explosion echoed all over Lebanon.  Nuhad called all of Joe's friends who confirmed he sent them a video of the fire around 6:00 PM, he told them a fireworks warehouse is burning. His friends asked him to take care and watch out, and that was the last they heard of him.

Three days later, there was still no news of Joe. On the dawn of August 7, Joe was found in the silos. His friends were waiting outside the Port of Beirut, they insisted to see him one last time.

Joe was on the roof of one of the buildings filming the fire before the big explosion. He tried to go down the stairs looking for a hiding place. He couldn’t, the explosion was too fast.

Joe's body was found with the cross he wears around his neck; it was buried with him, a proof of his faith in God.

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