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Keynote Speaker Impresses Audience with Story of Overcoming Tragedy

April 13, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Keynote speaker and Marine Corporal Josh Bleill was the highlight of the 2014 NAIA Luncheon on Sunday at the 73rd Annual NAIA National Convention in Kansas City, Mo. His message of overcoming adversity and teaching character impressed a crowd of about 350 people in attendance.

"Life is about how you look at things and how you overcome obstacles," said Bleill during his keynote speech. "I learned so much by being a student-athlete -- the teaching of character as a champion; being part of a team and having common goals. I think that by doing your best (as athletic administrators), you improve the experience of that student-athlete that you are responsible for."

Bleill served in the United States Marine Corps in 2004 and was activated for a tour of duty in Iraq in 2006. While serving in Iraq in October of 2006, Josh was severely injured when his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. From that tragedy, Josh lost both of his legs.

After extensive rehabilitation for a couple years, Bleill returned to Indiana where he was eventually employed as the Indianapolis Colts Community Spokesperson. Colts owner Jim Irsay described Bleill as "very talented, bright-eyed, and skilled."

Josh now travels around the country to spread his message of hope "one step at a time."