After 40 years in finance, Joel Harris devoted himself to philanthropic work as an event photographer.
Harris, from Mineola, was named Businessman of the Year by the Mineola Chamber of Commerce at a Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce event on Oct. 20 at Crest Hollow Country Club.
After photographing a charity event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society because a co-worker had lost a parent to leukemia, Harris continued to photograph charity events for other foundations including the Ronald McDonald House, Cystic Fibrosis, TJ for Kids and the Carly Rose Foundation.
While Harris enjoys photographing events like weddings, too, charitable fundraisers are his favorite.
“Everyone’s out to make a difference,” Harris said. “It’s nice to see so many people there for a purpose.”
Harris’ charitable work isn’t limited to the camera. He’s an active member of Kiwanis, a global philanthropic organization. Harris is in the process of forming a foundation for Warriors for a Cause, an organization that seeks to ease the burdens of the less fortunate by raising money to help families after devastating life events.
Harris joined the chamber in 2012 and is currently the vice president. He will assume the role of president in June.
Harris said it feels “wonderful” to be named Businessman of the Year by the chamber.
“There are no other words,” Harris said. “I enjoy being among a fantastic group of people.”