Benyos honored for making wishes come true - Republic-Times | News

Benyos honored for making wishes come true

By on October 24, 2012 at 10:11 am

Pictured are Joe and Sandy Benyo with Joslyn, formerly of Waterloo, in the airport before her flight to Disney World. Josyln, who has an immune deficiency disorder, was the first child the Benyos helped grant a wish to. (submitted photo)

Joe and Sandy Benyo of Waterloo have helped grant numerous wishes through their work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois for more than four years.

But never did the Benyos imagine they would be granted a wish of their own.

“I was shocked,” said Joe, describing his initial reaction to receiving a $5,000 grant from his company Morgan-Stanley during a special financial consultant and company conference in New Orleans earlier this month.

“It was nice to be recognized, but it was amazing to see all the people that came up to us that night after the award and tell us ‘thank you’ and that they were inspired,” Sandy added.

The Benyos thought they were just attending the conference with other Morgan-Stanley consultants to speak about volunteering in their community.

“I didn’t know I was the only one and that they were just honoring us,” Joe said with a laugh.

Joe was previously interviewed by Morgan-Stanley for a video that was shown at the conference, but was not aware he was the only one telling their story, let alone that he and his wife would receive a $5,000 grant to Make-A-Wish Illinois.

Joe described in the video, which can be viewed here, how they began working with the foundation.

“My wife Sandy and I got involved four years ago when our two children went off to college and we thought, after watching all their sporting events and all those kinds of activities that we spent time on, we decided to get involved in an organization.”

Since then, the Benyos have helped grant several wishes, such as helping to send a 9-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy to the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum and a 15-year-old female heart transplant recipient to Hawaii with her mother and sister to see Justin Bieber.

The Benyos also helped make the wishes of two Waterloo teenagers come true. Dustin Miskell, who suffers from a seizure disorder, received a basement remodel thanks to the help of the Benyos, area contractors and donors.

Kyle Frederick, who was born with congenital heart problems, was surprised with a Caribbean cruise.

“It is neat (to be a ‘wish granter’), but it is sad and touching, too,” Joe explains. “You would never want to trade that for a wish.”

Joe and Sandy’s next project is to help grant the wish of a lifetime to a 15-year-old Edwardsville girl with liver cancer.

Sandy says there are plenty of ways to get involved, such as donating frequent flyer miles because many of the wishes involve travel, donating time, or helping to raise money through an organization to grant a wish.

If you would like to get involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation, visit online at

To view the video from Joe and Sandy’s Benyo’s award ceremony, along with a special interview with Joe on how him and his wife got started with Make-A-Wish, click here.


Teryn Schaefer

Teryn was born and raised in Waterloo, growing up watching local sports and Mon-Clair baseball. She is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School and loves cheering on her Tigers any chance she gets.