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Tina Wesson

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Tina Wesson won “Survivor: The Australian Outback “ without ever receiving a single vote against her.

The affable Wesson, described by Entertainment Weekly as “about as threatening as June Cleaver holding out a plate of warm cookies,” triumphed on the #1 CBS show with a combination of mental acumen, physical stamina and Southern charm.

For the native of Knoxville, Tennessee, “Survivor” was just another chapter in Tina’s drive to live by her motto, “a life less ordinary.”

A former stay-at-home mom and presently a “soccer mom” who volunteers at her children’s school, Tina Wesson is also a certified nurse, an accomplished athlete as well as a devoted Christian. She is the loving parent of two teenagers, daughter Katie and son Taylor, and a devoted wife to Dale, a vice president of a Tennessee construction company. Adopted at the age of two, she is also a strong advocate of adoption and supports the rights of adopted children to their biological histories.

Tina Wesson is a graduate of the University of Tennessee (where she was offered a swimming scholarship). Soon thereafter she became a flight attendant and then put her degree in Therapeutic Recreation to use in the healthcare field, including positions at a hospital and a home-healthcare agency. However, the certified nursing assistant feels her greatest reward came with her experience as a private-duty nurse for individuals with severe paralysis.

As an athlete, Tina has twice won the Tennessee State Racquetball Championship (most recently in 2001), as well as the mixed-doubles division of the Tennessee State Championship and finished third in the state in the singles division. She is a marathon runner who has also been a competitor in track and swimming, and participates annually in a mini-triathlon. She and Dale are motorcycle enthusiasts (they own four bikes) and outdoor adventurists – they kayak, bike, hike camp and play paddleball (a sport Tina has played regularly for more than two decades).

Many of Wesson’s athletic achievements have come since her 1994 diagnosis of Rheumatoid Arthristis. She has since become spokesperson for the National Arthritis Foundation and in 1998 she completed the Dublin, Ireland Marathon with Joints in Motion for the foundation.

But Wesson’s faith in God has been the constant, powerful force in her life and has underscored who she is and everything that she has accomplished. A member of the interdenominational Evangelical Free Church, as well as a member of the Outstanding Young Women of America, she is involved in being a group leader and is a popular speaker at area churches and other faith-based organizations.

Wesson’s athleticism, compassion and zestful personality have endeared her to the millions of “Survivor” fans who identify with her as an empathetic figure, be it mother, sister or daughter. Tina Wesson believes in balanced living, championing the underdog and, most of all, being grateful.

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