Sometimes, extraordinary things can come from humble beginnings. As head custodian at Westchester Elementary in Coral Springs, you would never assume that Joseph Gormley would come to stand next to celebrities like LeBron James and Mario Chalmers, raising thousands of dollars for charity.

Joseph’s story can be traced back to James Truslow Adams’ ideals for the American Dream—a dream that has carried Joseph through his journey of self-discovery. Born and raised in Glasgow, Scottland, Joseph moved to Florida 10 years ago when he met and fell and love with his American wife, Erin Ruth. 

He was always the artistic type, having attended college in Scotland to be a graphic designer, but it wasn’t until his wife bought him a set of watercolor paints for Christmas in 2006, that he truly began to realize his own slice of the American Dream.

“My wife saw my artistic talents and thought that painting would be a great hobby for me to do in my free time. To my surprise, I came to truly enjoy it. I tried all types of styles and mediums—my favorite being acrylic pop art,” says Joseph. “It has taken me six years to find my true style for the brand Joseph Gormley Art and I am still learning.”

In April of 2012, Joseph’s “wee hobby” evolved into somewhat of a hometown phenomenon. “I painted a portrait of Neil Lennon, the Head Coach of my favorite Scottish Soccer team, Celtic FC. My artwork was given to a website called CQN (Celtic Quick News) and was put on eBay to raise money for an 11-year-old girl in Scotland who needed help for an overseas cancer treatment,” recalls Joseph. Within days, his painting raised $8,000 for her treatment.

“It was such an awesome feeling, knowing that I had done something to make a difference in someone else’s life. After that moment I knew I wanted to help others… and that I could use my gift of painting to do it,” he says.

Since then, Joseph’s artwork has graced the walls of the Sun Life Stadium, the BB&T Center, and the homes of dozens of celebrities. His paintings have been seen and signed by celebrities like Rod Stewart, David Beckham, Steven Tyler, Wimbledon winner Andy Murray, ex-Miami Hurricane Bennie Blades, Seattle Seahawks players Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Russell Wilson. And he has raised money for several charitable organizations, including The Osacar Knox Appeal, The Yorkhill Children’s Foundation, The Eilidh Brown Memorial Fund, The Prestige Club, and The Boys and Girls Club.

“This is just the beginning of my American Dream,” says Joseph. “One day I hope to reach my goal of raising $1 million for charity. Coming to America and making a million for myself, that’s boring—it’s been done. But, coming to America and raising a million for other people—that will tell people, long after I’m gone, about what kind of man I wanted to be. My artwork is a legacy I will be proud to leave behind.”

To check out Joseph’s art and his future fundraising events, visit www.josephgormley.com.