Jess was born and raised in Allamuchy, NJ, which is a small farm town in northern Jersey near the Pennsylvania border. An avid lover of punk rock and ska music, Jess spent her teenage years traveling the northeast region in search of live shows to attend and mosh pits to throw herself into. After shifting her focus from music to academia, she graduated from Penn State University in 2007 with a degree in Biology before attending medical school at George Washington University in Washington DC. After receiving her Medical Degree, Jess completed both her Internal Medicine Residency and subspeciality Fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital where she stayed on to serve as an Attending Rheumatologist through January 2022.
Joel, meanwhile, hails from Burke, VA which is a suburb just outside of Washington DC. Joel began making a yearly pilgrimage to Hatteras with his family who always stayed on Runboat Circle in Frisco. After graduating from Penn State University in 2007 with a master’s degree in Health Administration, Joel spent a few years working as a civilian hospital administrator before he received his Commission as an Officer in the United States Navy as a Medical Service Corps Officer. While he currently serves in a Reserve capacity, Joel has over three years of Active Duty service time which includes a rapid mobilization to the Javits Center Field Hospital in New York City at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic in April 2020. He completed a second master’s degree in Defense and Strategic Studies from the United States Naval War College in the spring of 2019. Now a Lieutenant Commander, Joel holds Medical Service Corps subspecialties in Health Care Administration, Patient Administration and Plans, Operations and Medical Intelligence (POMI).
Jess and Joel met for the first time on November 25th, 2003 at the Electric Factory concert venue in Philadelphia, PA. They were both there that night to see their favorite band, Less Than Jake. After meeting through a mutual friend, Joel noticed Jess living her best life skanking in a nearby mosh pit and he instantly fell in love. After some heavy convincing in the weeks that followed the show, Jess eventually agreed to go on a date with Joel and the rest is history. They were married on August 11th, 2007. They now have 2 kids, an elderly cat and, of course, still have a mutual appreciation for the music that first brought them together on that fateful night in 2003.
While Jess and Joel had each taken separate vacations to the Outer Banks before they met, they truly fell in love with the land and its people when they honeymooned on Hatteras Island in August of 2007. In the 14 years that followed, they went about their lives living in Washington DC and building successful careers in medicine all while secretly plotting to one day make Hatteras their permanent home. They saw their opportunity to live their dream in the summer of 2021 when The Wreck went up for sale. Jess and Joel had been frequent patrons of The Wreck and knew how special of a place it was. After surprisingly little debate, Jess decided to trade knee taps for beer taps, left her medical practice in DC and moved down with the family to live in Hatteras full time and run The Wreck with Joel as its new owners.
The Outer Banks can be harsh - persistent crazy weather and storms have in the past wiped out a lot of things and certainly put a halt to many businesses over the past 10 years. But nonetheless, The Wreck has become a cherished favorite for visitors who come back year after year to enjoy the uniquely casual, friendly atmosphere with great food, live music and good vibes from opening until last call. Whether you are visiting, vacationing, or just passing through on your way to Ocracoke, stop in on your next visit to Hatteras Village for a panini and to say hello to Jess and Joel!
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