Community Heroes: Jonesborough man teaching community financial literacy all while battling ALS


JONESBOROUGH, Tenn. (WJHL) Planning for the future is something we constantly do to stay on track with our goals.

This week’s community hero works to financially educate his community, all while battling a disease that continues to attack his nervous system. Meet Ryan Nesseth.

Pictured here is Ryan Nesseth in a wheelchair. He was diagnosed with ALS in February 2018.

“He has a heart for others,” Amelia Nesseth said.

With a background in finance, Amelia’s husband, Ryan Nesseth serves his community by helping his clients plan for unexpected events.. Walking them through financial plans to better their future.

Amelia said, “He becomes victorious through taking his experience to encourage other people, to help other people’s journey become easier, to make sure that he is doing everything that he can to let people know that even though it gets hard, you’re not alone and you can get through it.”

Amelia told Pheben Kassahun what started the process of finding out something was wrong was when her husband was when he was lifting weights. He all of a sudden dropped his weights and started to see the area around his heart was spazzing.

“We started looking and seeing that his hands were sinking in and we knew at that time something else had to been going on,” she explained.

They then began to visit various doctors.

In February 2018, Ryan’s life was hit with an unpredicted diagnosis: ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

“It was life-changing. Our whole world got turned upside down,” Amelia said, “You just see this strong man go from everything- being vibrant, playing in pool tournaments, being out, going to the drag races, spending time with family and friends to not being able to tie his shoe, put on his dress shirt.”

He and his wife, Amelia did not know much about the disease, except for hearing about it through the Ice Bucket Challenge. now the two have become advocates for the disease.

She said, “It is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. Essentially what will happen is, the motor neurons in the body the disease attacks them, causing the muscles to weaken and then eventually, the person becomes in a paralyzed stage.”

Regardless of the increased challenges, Ryan faces daily, he still works tirelessly to ensure to educate people in his community to plan for their future, financially.

Amelia said, “I think that no matter what challenges he faces, no matter what he goes through, no matter how difficult the journey, he always strives through to turn that into a positive to help other people.”

Below, Ryan uses his alternative and augmented communication (AAC) device to explain how ALS has impacted his life:

And that is why he’s our community hero.

If you know someone who makes our community a better place to live, we want to hear from you! Nominate them to be an ABC Tri-Cities Community Hero! Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page to nominate them.

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