Someone You Should Know: Rob Tortorella

Rob Tortorella (WHAM photo)

Rob Tortorella was just 21, and had just graduated from college, when his life changed forever. Now, he's hoping to change the lives of others.

Tortorella suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident 35 years ago next month. It happened just days after he received his diploma from Holy Cross. He has used a wheelchair ever since.

“I’ve had more support than anybody could have asked for,” he says. “Fortunately, the way I was raised I was taught to have a good attitude.”

A golf event Tortorella hosted Monday at Country Club of Rochester represents a new transition for him. Now 56, he's moving away from his role as CEO of his 30-year-old company, Corrosion Products and Equipment, to devote time to a new mission.

The Endless Highway Foundation will help break down barriers for children and young adults with physical disabilities.

“Providing opportunities for children and young adults to participate in rec activities, sports activities and the arts,” Torotorella says. “I want to remove the barriers that are still here.”

And if Rob Tortorella ever felt like the barriers were too much, he needed only to look at words tattoed on his arm: “Carpe diem,” Latin for, “seize the day.”

“Seize the day. Don’t put the future ahead of what's happening today.” Tortorella says. “I try to live each day, make the best of it and be thankful for where I am, be thankful the people in my life, and do whatever I can to do the right thing.”

More information can be found in a video produced for the Endless Highway Foundation, which you can watch here.

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