July 20, 2013, Knoxville, Tennessee
After a week of educational workshops, anxiety-provoking interviews, and of course, fun, Bliss Welch returns home to Tennessee as 1st Runner Up! If you have yet to hear of Bliss Welch, it is time to climb out from under your rock. While studying accounting at UT-Chattanooga, Bliss learned about the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee (America) organization and was encouraged by family and friends to compete in the upcoming pageant. Competition was stiff, but Bliss proved herself to be the best spokesperson for Tennesseans with disabilities. Upon winning the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2013 this March, she grabbed up the reigns and slapped that pony! Bliss has visited several elementary classrooms to educate children on the importance of accepting individual differences, has begun her own campaign to spotlight other Tennesseans with disabilities, has presented her platform at the House of Representatives, has been on radio and television, and has even hosted her own Golf Tournament where she raised over $12,000.
On Saturday July 20th, Bliss of Harrison, TN was elevated to the top 5 of 27 contestants. After each of these five women answered final questions, the judges left to deliberate. When they returned, they named Jennifer Lynn Adams of Washington, Ms. Wheelchair America 2014. While Bliss did not bring the national title home, she says, “I know that regardless of the outcome, I was myself and always will be.” The Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee organization could not have been more proud of Bliss and all of the work she has done this year. She will continue to hold the title of Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2013 and complete the goals she has set for herself. Bliss will then pass her title on to another at the Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee 2014 pageant. Since the establishment of the national organization in 1972, there has yet to be a Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee to win this title. Perhaps the first person to do so is reading this right now! For more information on how to get involved or to schedule an event with Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee (America), please visit www.mswheelchairtn.org.
Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee follows the guidelines set forth under the Ms. Wheelchair America (www.mswheelchairamerica.org) organization. Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee holds a competition to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities across the State of Tennessee. Ms. Wheelchair Tennessee is charged with a continuing effort to educate the public regarding the dignity, productiveness and basic values of people with disabilities.
Thank you to WBBJ Channel 7 for interviewing Hanna on March 19, 2013.