Joe Bommersbach "Blind Joe"
The rowdy non-stop rebel soul that is Blind Joe is as infectious as a night spent laughing with your closest friends while you listen to a few old school country songs cranked up on the jukebox. Coming from nowhere to being one of the most successful solo musicians in the tri-state area was not what he expected. Nevertheless, in just a few short years, Joe has shared the stage with numerous top local and regional acts, as well as national recording artists such as David Allan Coe, Craig Morgan, John Anderson, James Otto, Collin Ray, Buddy Guy, Bret Michaels of Poison, and many more. After multiple cross country tours, playing to thousands of fans, and an excellent run on Season 9 of NBC's The Voice, Blind Joe is fast becoming a household name. Although if you asked him, he would humbly tell you, "I'm just bringin' that good stuff back." With his quick witted sense of humor, original country music, and energetic stage presence, Blind Joe is tapping his way quickly into the hearts and minds of people all over the world And in case you're wondering, YES, he really is blind!
Sam Hanson was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome at the age of 16. While trying to find a way to cope with his diagnosis, Sam found his passion for influencing others through posting on YouTube and public speaking. After opening up and posting videos on YouTube for about two years, Sam was invited to be on a TV show. After a year of filming, Raising Tourette’s aired on A&E in Fall 2018. Sam currently has over 1.4 million views and around 10,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Nicole Kelly stepped into the role of public figure after winning the 2013 title of Miss Iowa and going on to compete at the 2014 Miss America Pageant. She gained attention for being one of only a few competitors to have ever competed with a physical disability. After working for a year as Miss Iowa and traveling across the country to advocate for those living with a disability, Nicole transitioned into speaking professionally. Nicole is represented by Keppler Speaking Agency and has proudly spoken at hundreds of K-12 schools, given educational lectures at universities across the country, and served as the emcee at the Kennedy Center's celebration for the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. It is Nicole's mission to educate as many people as possible about those living with a physical difference. Nicole is a proud ambassador for CoApt, an advanced control solution designed to enhance the functionality of a powered myoelectric prosthesis for those with upper limb loss or limb difference. Last summer Nicole completed her master’s degree in broadcast journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism.
Scott Schwartz received his bachelor’s degree in physical education, strength and conditioning with a minor in studio art at Coe College. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in the Master of Social Work program. Scott is the graduate assistant in Student Accessibility Services at UNI. He is also interning with the Hail Mary project, which seeks to serve the Waterloo community by offering coaching, physical activity, and other methods to prevent a cycle of violence. Scott hopes to utilize his undergraduate degree and combine it with the UNI trauma-focused lens of social work practice to better understand trauma’s effect on the perpetration of violence.
Nathan Selove is an Autistic YouTube actor/activist (YouTube Channel: Nathan Selove). He goes everywhere with his service dog SSD Blake and has been acting since he was in elementary school. Nathan is currently a graduate student at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) in the Department of Communication Studies where he teaches Oral Communication and coaches the UNI speech team. He hopes to continue to teach and coach tomorrow’s activists far into the future. Nathan is very excited for the opportunity to tell his story.