Alex Watters is the Career Development Specialist at Morningside College. Watters was born in Ocheyedan, Iowa before moving to Okoboji when he was in the eighth grade. He attended Morningside College on a golf scholarship with the intension of becoming a teaching pro. However, everything would change the 2nd week of his freshmen year. Traveling up to lake Okoboji with some friends, Watters unknowingly dove into 18-inch-deep water, snapping his neck. The accident caused Watters to lose mobility in his legs after breaking his C5 and C6 vertebrae. Watters had to go through six months of rehab, which he did in Colorado. He then returned to Morningside, finishing his schooling in nine years. Watters spoke about the accident calmly, jokingly saying, “I’d never broken a bone before so go big or go home, I guess.”
Watters expressed how his disability impacted his life. Watters talked about how his father’s coverage paid for his accident, but there are so many other people who can’t pay for healthcare. He said Iowa’s healthcare system is a broken, for-profit system that cuts corners. He fights for better healthcare because he is in a position where his voice is heard. While he lobbies for better healthcare, Watters is also involved directly in politics, such as his involvement in Obama’s 2012 campaign and his current status as a councilman.
While working for the Obama campaign in 2012, he worked with a woman who used a walker. Watters said she felt depressed and thought she lacked value because of her inability to contribute. Watters created the position of office manager for her, so she could greet people while he worked. The woman later expressed how grateful she was that her life was given purpose. Watters said that moment was a “wow” moment for him. “Everyone has value,” he said.
Watters wants to keep making an impact and working with others with disabilities. He worked with the Miracle League in Sioux City, a program that provides opportunities for children and adults who are disabled. Watters hopes to inspire others to see themselves as more than people with disabilities. “You determine your destiny,” he said, “We all have the same time of day.”