Route 117 in Groton Renamed to Memorialize the Life of Local Recovery Advocate and Son of Representative Joe de la Cruz, Joey Gingerella

November 2, 2019

GROTON, CONN. – Joey Gingerella, the son of State Rep. Joe de la Cruz (D-Groton/New London) who was fatally shot while attempting to prevent the assault of a woman outside of a Groton bar in late 2016, was memorialized for his efforts and life today. A portion of Route 117, which runs from Poquonock Bridge to the north through Ledyard, will now bear the 24-year-old’s name: “Joseph ‘Jo Jo Nice’ Gingerella Memorial Highway.”

The de la Cruz family has issued the following statement with respect to the dedication:

"Our family is grateful to the community for recognizing our son's heroic act. Joey grew up in Groton and his values were learned through family, friends and neighbors. Today we are memorializing a section of road adjacent to where Joey lost his life. Today we remind folks that Joey died a hero and our Community will always be grateful."

A celebration of the road dedication and Joey’s life took place at 2 p.m. at Bridge Market restaurant, which is located on Route 117. State House Speaker Joe Arescimowicz (D-Berlin/Southington), Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford), Cathy Osten (D-Sprague) and Kevin Ryan (D-Montville) joined New London-area delegation representatives Joe de la Cruz (D-New London/Groton) Christine Conley (D-Groton/Ledyard), Anthony Nolan (D-New London) and Kate Rotella (D-Stonington) in attendance. Local leaders and firefighters from the Poquonock Fire Department were also there.

“This was a young man who fought to turn his life around and dedicated himself to helping others,” says Speaker Aresimowicz. “His memories will always live on among family and friends, and this dedication is a way to remind everyone of a person who gave his life while trying to improve his community.”

“Tammy and Joe are incredibly proud of Joey – his recovery and commitment to others in need of a helping hand,” says Majority Leader Ritter. “This road, the Joseph ‘Jo Jo Nice’ Gingerella Memorial Highway, serves as a memorial to the many lives that Joey touched.”

Rep. Conley and friend-of-the-family Margaret Renee Twitty collaborated in arranging for the road’s new signage and renaming.

“I’m thankful that Groton will now have a memorial dedicated to Joey, a beloved community member who we tragically lost in an act of senseless violence,” says Rep. Conley. “The impacts he had on others is evident in the outpouring of support I’ve seen leading up to this dedication and I hope that in the renaming of Route 117, we can do justice to the memory of an outstanding young man.”

“Joey has always been a part of this town, and he will always have a legacy here,” says Twitty. “And now with this sign future generations can learn and hopefully be inspired by the incredible man we love and whom we call a hero.”

After beginning treatment for an addiction to a prescription pain reliever, Joey Gingerella dedicated much of his time to Community Speaks Out, the addiction prevention and recovery non-profit his parents co-founded. Joey addressed Narcotics Anonymous meetings and school auditoriums in an effort to combat the growing rates of drug addiction among youth in New London County.