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'Joe’s Mission:' Joe Garagiola Sr. Was Dedicated To Gila River Indian Community School

Sister Martha Carpenter
(Photo by Casey Kuhn - KJZZ)
Sister Martha Carpenter and the six other nuns living and working at the St. Peter Indiana Mission School.

Baseball legend and former Arizona Diamondbacks announcer Joe Garagiola Sr. died Wednesday at the age of 90. His legacy reached beyond baseball and into a small mission school on the Gila River Indian Community.

Seven nuns recite "Joe’s Prayer," an invocation Garagiola would lead when he came to visit the 230 students of the St. Peter Indian Mission School.

Sister Martha Carpenter said the longtime broadcaster was a constant presence at the school.

“Every week he was down here. Joe’s footprints are all over this mission. This is Joe’s mission," said Sister Carpenter.

Garagiola was given a Native American name, Awesome Fox, and signs around the campus pay tribute to the former ballplayer.

His contributed a 5,000-square-foot library and computer lab, a soccer field, feast house, school buses and vans, all for the school.

“We love him and miss him but we know he’s at bat up in heaven, cheering us on, like he always did," Sister Carpenter said.

Family asked that donations be made to St. Peter’s in lieu of flowers.

Casey Kuhn reports from KJZZ’s West Valley Bureau. She comes to Phoenix from the Midwest, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in journalism.Kuhn got her start in radio reporting in college at the community public radio station, WFHB. She volunteered there as a reporter and worked her way up to host the half-hour, daily news show. After graduating, she became a multimedia reporter at Bloomington's NPR/PBS station WFIU/WTIU, where she reported for and produced a weekly statewide news television show.Since moving to the Southwest, she’s discovered a passion for reporting on rural issues, agriculture and the diverse people who make up her community.Kuhn was born and raised in Cincinnati, where her parents instilled in her a love of baseball, dogs and good German beer. You’ll most likely find her around the Valley with a glass of prosecco in one hand and a graphic novel in the other.She finds the most compelling stories come from KJZZ’s listeners.