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Peekskill Couple Finds Hope in Charity and in Each Other

Peekskill's Joseph and Diane Incognito were featured in the New York Times' Neediest Cases series of profiles.

Joseph and Diane Incognito of Peekskill have seen their fair share of troubles, but in the face of financial woes and health problems, the couple finds hope in a good cause and comfort in each other’s love and care.

The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund highlighted the Incognitos as part of a short series to illustrate the difference even a modest amount of money can make in the lives of the poor.

The Incognitos monthly income is solely derived from food stamps and each of their social security benefits (a total of $1,393), plus Mr. Incognito’s pension. After falling behind on bills in October, the couple turned to the Dominican Sisters, a home health agency that is an affiliate of Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York, one of the seven agencies supported by The New York Times Neediest Cases Fund. The agency helped pay Mr. Incognito’s supplemental health insurance.

At 59, Ms. Incognito was diagnosed with breast cancer and during her recovery, her husband dealt with kidney stones that resulted in internal bleeding and a removal of a piece of kidney.

Though both have mostly recovered, their misfortune continued last year when Ms. Incognito tripped on a curb and fractured her elbow — and then refractured it five weeks later after slipping on ice.

Despite their disadvantages, the couple feels blessed to still have each other. Joseph, 80, and Diane, 70, have been married for 48 years, though originally Ms. Incognito belonged to another.

Joseph stole her away from one of his friends. To win her love, Mr. Incognito made a gentlemen’s bet with his friend that he could get a date with her. After tracking her number from a phone bill, he called her up, won the bet and six months later they were married.

Before moving to Peekskill, the Incognitos lived in Ossining for 38 years.

C. Anderson January 11, 2012 at 11:40 PM
Joseph and Diane are very sweet and very nice folks. They always have a kind word of you. I hope their luck changes for the better, they deserve it.
Joann January 12, 2012 at 12:12 PM
How can we the community help the Incognitos? What do they need?
Joseph June 17, 2012 at 07:57 PM
They are very sweet people. Ive never known let alone met them before, but i love them!

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