Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma Jesa Lopez Discusses Her New Career

Jesa Lopez has always loved the spotlight.

Jesa Lopez has always loved the spotlight.

Editor’s Note: Jesa Lopez of Oklahoma, an avid dancer, had planned to travel the United States with a dance troupe and forego her senior year in high school to begin her dancing career as soon as possible. But then life put a huge obstacle in her way – an insurmountable obstacle, most would believe. However, at 32-years old today, the dancer in Jesa Lopez wouldn’t allow her to give-up on her dream. Not only does she dance today, but she has a new goal and a new challenge to teach the wheelchair world how to dance. Part 5 of a 5 part Series. 

A few years ago, Jesa Lopez joined the Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach Foundation and started going on hunting trips with the organization. The guys in her family always had hunted. “My younger brother and I were very close,” Lopez explains. “We both played sports and we always would practice together at home. But after my wreck, there wasn’t anything we really could do together. Someone had told him about this organization that takes handicapped people hunting. He told me, ‘You probably won’t like hunting, but if we join this organization, then hunting is something we can do together.’ My brother and I have been working with the Oklahoma Outdoor Outreach Foundation for about 9 years. We hunt about two times a year together for turkeys and deer and help with youth hunts. I’ve also gone on hunts with the Paralyzed Veterans of America Association, including hog, turkey and deer hunts. I’ve taken four deer, three hogs and three turkeys on these hunts.

When Jesa's reign as Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma ends, she will become the state coordinator for future participants.

When Jesa’s reign as Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma ends, she will become the state coordinator for future participants.

“Although I had been an advocate for different groups, organizations and nonprofits for several years, I never had considered the possibility of becoming an advocate for people with disabilities because I’d never thought of myself as handicapped. But because of my involvement with these organizations for disabled people and the Paralyzed Veterans of America, I started making friends with people who had disabilities. I finally realized that I was a handicapped person and I was okay with it. I had many opportunities to do things like hunting, bowling and dancing and I realized that my life wasn’t bad because of my injury but rather was just different. One night while bowling with the PVA, I met a woman who had been Ms. Wheelchair Missouri. I became intrigued and I asked her for more information. I thought that by becoming involved in Ms. Wheelchair America I would get more attention for people with disabilities. I started looking into the program of Ms. Wheelchair America, but there wasn’t anything online about Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma.”

In August, Jesa competed in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant

In August, Jesa competed in the Ms. Wheelchair America pageant!

Lopez got in touch with the national Ms. Wheelchair America group, who confirmed there wasn’t an active Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma program, but told her she could apply to start that organization. “I would represent Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma as an independent member of Ms. Wheelchair America,” she reports. Lopez didn’t win a contest and didn’t have a program she wanted to push.

However, when the board of directors of the Ms. Wheelchair America program looked at Lopez’s videos on YouTube, saw the pictures of the activities she was involved in on her Facebook page and realized how active she was in many organizations for disabled individuals, the group knew she’d be a good candidate. This title has changed Jesa Lopez’s focus from not just being a participant in wheelchair activities but to being an advocate for the disabled.

As Lopez explains, “Now instead of finding activities that I enjoy and can participate in, my focus has become to show other disabled individuals all the great and wonderful activities that are available to them.” Participating in this year’s Ms. Wheelchair America program, Lopez’s platform is “Teach the Wheelchair World to Dance.” Lopez wants to help develop a series of Wii videos to teach disabled people of all ages that even if they can’t walk or run, they can dance. She wants to conduct workshops and seminars to teach disabled people to dance.

Lopez finally has realized a bigger dream than she had when 16-years old and dreamed of traveling all over the world and dancing. Her new dream is to not only to travel and dance as a wheelchair individual but also to teach the world of the disabled to dance. No, Jesa Lopez didn’t lose her dream of becoming a dancer and a teacher. That dream was just postponed until time and circumstances found a bigger stage and a bigger audience to see her dance and teach others to dance.

To see Jesa Lopez dance, go to her webpage at www.mswheelchairok.org, visit her Facebook page or visit the Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma 2012 Facebook page. Her videos are on the YouTube channel jesalolo (http://www.youtube.com/user/jesalolo). 

 

About the Author: For the last 12 years, John E. Phillips of Vestavia, Alabama, has been a professional blogger for major companies, corporations and tourism associations throughout the nation. During his 24 years as Outdoor Editor for “The Birmingham Post-Herald” newspaper, he published more than 7,000 newspaper columns and sold more than 100,000 of his photos to newspapers, magazines and internet sites. He also hosted a radio show that was syndicated at 27 radio stations; created, wrote and sold a syndicated newspaper column that ran in 38 newspapers for more than a decade; and wrote and sold more than 30 books. Learn more at http://www.nighthawkpublications.com

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