At first chat with Joe Ferchak, you might think he was a typical Northeasterner who decided to retire to Florida to get away from the cold weather. While Florida’s sunshine was a factor, it doesn’t compare to the magical world that really drove him and his family to move to Central Florida. Joe grew up in Jersey City, NJ, but visits to his family’s summer cabin in the country cemented his love of nature and wildlife. He moved to a small town in Northern New Jersey during his first marriage, and raised two daughters in an idyllic wooded setting. At home, he was a loving father who tended to his family and his 58 acres of land with horses and a variety of rescue animals. Joe was also a police officer, specializing in narcotics and undercover work, a career that followed him to upstate New York after his first divorce and second marriage. His love of nature and animals followed him too—his home in upstate New York was on 58 acres, where he and his second wife raised horses. Upon his retirement and second divorce, Joe found himself in Central Florida, less than two hours from his daughters, with whom he is very close. Florida also brought new love to his life—his partner in life and business, Gloria, a retired nurse. Joe’s home has always been his sanctuary while his job was fit for someone who can stay calm in the face of danger. A narcotics cop for his entire career, Joe worked undercover busting drug dealers and making the streets of New Jersey and New York safer. “I was a chameleon,” he said. “I was a great actor that was able to do drug deals undetected and then leave those situations at work and come home to never speak about it.” Even though Joe witnessed situations you only see on television, he never let it get to him and he never took it home with him. His strength, loving family, rescue animals and hobbies were what kept him levelheaded. Being a cop is a difficult job no matter where you live or what time it is. For Joe, undercover deals could have easily gone wrong, or gangs could have placed a bounty on his head for putting valuable dealers in prison. He’s seen it happen to friends but throughout his 33 years, he never had an issue. He attributes it to his being respectful of people and always trying to calm a situation down before putting handcuffs on anyone. For the people he did put in prison, he always saw them as people who could turn their life around if they wanted to. A few of them would call him out of nowhere asking for a job after doing their time and changing for the better. Instead of ignoring the request or dismissing the call, he would vouch for them to help. He believes anyone can have a redemption story and if he can do anything to help, he will. Throughout his time as a narcotics cop and deputy sheriff, Joe stayed grounded with the help of his family and rescue animals. He has always had horses and now he now has two dogs, three cats and a peacock that all get along with each other. Rescuing animals and keeping them as pets has relaxed him and kept him disciplined. “If I’m even ten minutes late to feed the horses, they start mumbling and complaining, so it keeps me accountable,” said Joe. Living on a farm in the middle of Florida means there are chores every day, from mowing the lawn to keeping the fence intact and maintaining the property. This keeps Joe active and busy which is fundamental to who he is. While this may seem like more than enough work to do for a man and his wife, these all barely scratch the surface. Joe’s true passion lies within the world of antiques from the 1800s. He has collected hundreds of antiques throughout the years storing them in storage units and a warehouse to hold overflow. Every day, he preps an antique before sending it to Wren’s Nest, his and Gloria’s antique store in Micanopy, FL. Once he’s done with one, he pulls another from the warehouse to prep it. If he sees an authentic piece at an auction or estate sale, he’ll buy it and refurbish it enough to resell it to a nearby antique store. He makes sure they have dovetail drawers, wavy single pane glass and other features he has learned about over the course of more than 30 years. The best part for him is that he doesn’t do it alone—his forever partner, Gloria, is there by his side, keeping life and their relationship fun and interesting. Joe’s lighthearted personality and passion for a variety of things has made retirement enjoyable. “In my head, I’m 18 years old,” says Joe. “You’re only as good as a piece of paper.” His daughters keep life interesting as well. Both have followed in his footsteps in different ways. The older one has an online antique and vintage clothing shop, while the younger is a K-9 trainer and guard with a major theme park. Both have their own rescue animals as pets and can often be found rescuing injured and abandoned animals throughout Orlando. “My two daughters both love animals, domestic and wild, I’m proud and happy to say. They have cared and rescued many through the years.” Joe loves to meet people from all over the world like Switzerland and Great Britain through his antique business and he loves working with his wife. Living in the Ocala area has been a dream for him and his wife because they love the town and its history. As an antique destination with a famous reputation, they feel right at home. Joe’s active lifestyle, unique passion and long life full of respect and love are what we think makes Joe an Amazing Senior. Visit Joe and Gloria at Wren’s Nest, located at 302 NE Cholokka Blvd., Micanopy FL 32667. Do you know an Amazing Senior you would like to see in our next issue? Let us know! Email us at email@example.com.