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Meet Joe Wehberg: CORE Program Graduate and Executive Assistant

Joe stands in the BISM office wearing a light blue collared shirt and dark blue tie.

Welcome to Joe’s journey towards acceptance and empowerment.

Although he was born with congenital glaucoma, Joe grew up with limited visual acuity and  was able to live life just like any kid.  It wasn’t until he was 26 that the glaucoma caused him to lose all sight and he was faced with the reality that he was blind.

Fortunately, Joe was aware of BISM’s CORE program as his sister (and current CORE Director), Laura Shroyer is also blind and had already completed the program.  Joe enrolled in the CORE program and got to experience, firsthand, the effectiveness of the program and its impact on him.  During his ten-month journey, Joe faced every challenge head-on, made steady progress through the curriculum and, ultimately, thrived. He particularly excelled in his cane travel class.

BISM’s instructors and staff took notice of Joe’s potential and, soon after his graduation from CORE, invited him to become a cane travel instructor as well as the Residential Manager for the CORE program.  This provided Joe an opportunity to share and teach the knowledge and skills he had acquired, and he served as a mentor to his students as they pursued their own paths to independence. After two years teaching, Joe decided he wanted a change of scenery and moved to North Carolina.  Here he got a job at a similar agency like BISM working on the production floor sewing.  After five years he decided it was time to come home – back to Maryland.

In 2020, Joe completed the circle and returned to BISM.  First, he worked in BISM’s textile manufacturing department and was an integral part of the team during COVID sewing cloth masks.  In 2022, Joe – after receiving encouragement from his friends, peers, and former instructors, answered a job posting and applied to serve as the Executive Assistant to BISM’s new President, Mike Gosse.  He got the job and has performed in this role since.  Joe says he is  challenged daily in his new role and truly appreciates BISM’s faith in him and providing him with the opportunity to advance within the organization.

Joe is a testament to resilience, acceptance, and belief in his own capabilities. Despite becoming completely blind as a young adult, he took his disability and proved that, with patience and belief, he could succeed in whatever he set his mind to do.  Every day, Joe proves to himself and others that blindness isn’t a setback but an opportunity.

His journey from a student at BISM to an instructor, and currently as an executive assistant, is a story of tenacity and a lesson that life is what you make of it. Joe’s story tells us that acceptance of oneself paves the way for empowerment.