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Blind since birth, Mote’s faith provides the foundation for his life and constantly fuels his creative spirit. When he was just three, Gordon surprised his family on Thanksgiving by sitting down at the piano and miraculously playing “Jesus Loves Me” with both hands. “I was just passionate about music,” states the Attalla, Alabama native. “My music is so eclectic today because I listened to every album I could get my hands on growing up. As kids, my brother (who is also blind) and I traveled and sang in churches of all sizes and denominations.”
As a young man, Gordon became one of the first blind students in the country to be mainstreamed into the public-school system and later received a full scholarship to Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. After three years at JSU, he transferred to Nashville’s Belmont University and graduated with honors. Two days after graduation, Country music legend Lee Greenwood asked Mote to join his band. Since then, he’s toured with Trisha Yearwood, Tanya Tucker, Porter Wagoner, the Gaither Vocal Band, and the long-running Gaither Homecoming Tour.
As a studio musician, Mote’s big break came when Country Music Hall of Fame keyboardist Pig Robbins (who is also blind) was unable to make a session and recommended that Gordon fill in. That particular day, Alan Jackson cut the poignant 9/11 tribute, “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?”—the first number one single on which Gordon performed.
Since that time, he has played for music’s biggest names, including Brad Paisley, Blake Shelton, Martina McBride, Bob Seger, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood, Lionel Richie, Josh Turner, Darius Rucker, and Alison Krauss—to name a few. His unmatched studio prowess has earned him two Academy of Country Music Awards for top piano/keyboard player as well as two Music Row Magazine Instrumentalist of the Year Awards (2009, 2011) for playing on the most top ten albums. Gordon is honored and humbled by the artists and producers who place their trust in him, “I always try to bring my creativity and do the very best I can.”
Since stepping into the spotlight as a solo artist, Mote has recorded an impressive body of work—three instrumental and seven vocal albums—including the Dove Award-nominated If You Could Hear What I See (2004), Don’t Let Me Miss the Glory (2007), and his acclaimed Christmas collection, The Star Still Shines (2012).
Cheryl DeLuca-Johnson serves as the Brand Ambassador of Street Grace. As the organization’s founding CEO, Cheryl firmly established the organization’s presence within the field and helped to solidify Street Grace’s niche within the faith-based community.
Cheryl has over twenty years of humanitarian work experience. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with a background specializing in women’s issues, specifically women, and addiction. Prior to Street Grace, Cheryl held several positions at Metro Atlanta Recovery Residences (MARR) and was instrumental in the changes that renovated their women’s program.
She has also served on Drug and Alcohol Advisory boards, worked with World Hope International on women’s issues in Sri Lanka, and volunteered therapeutic services with Red Cross.
She is celebrating 31 years of marriage to Ernie Johnson this year. They have six children: Eric, Maggie, Michael, Carmen, Allison, and Ashley. Her youngest four children are adopted from orphanages in Romania and Paraguay, and from the U.S. Foster Care system.
Ernie Johnson, Jr. is one of sports’ most respected and loved personalities. The three-time Sports Emmy Award winner and host of TNT’s “Inside the NBA” have helped audiences break down games and belly laugh for decades. Ernie is also the host for NBA TV’s popular “Fan Night” and a host for Turner and CBS’s NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship coverage. He is the lead play-by-play announcer for Turner’s coverage of Major League Baseball and the PGA Championship and has covered the National Football League, The British Open, Wimbledon and the Olympics.
In addition to his professional accolades and lifetime achievement awards, Ernie has earned honors recognizing his incredible actions off-camera, including the first-ever John Wooden Keys to Life Award and a Musial Award, both of which salute characteristics such as integrity, faith, and good sportsmanship.
Maybe more impressive than his professional fame and recognition is Ernie’s innate ability to connect with people on a human level. His willingness to discuss topics such as the adoption of his and his wife Cheryl’s children, including their special needs son Michael; the death of his father and best friend, iconic sportscaster and pitcher Ernie Johnson; and his own battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma has endeared him and given hope to millions.
In his new book, UNSCRIPTED: THE UNPREDICTABLE MOMENTS THAT MAKE LIFE EXTRAORDINARY, Ernie takes readers behind the scenes of those very moments. With grace and humility, Ernie gives readers a look at TV’s most popular shows and broadcasts, as well as into the privacy of his own home to share hard-won lessons in being open and slowing down to savor moments that really matter. UNSCRIPTED takes readers back to Ernie’s early days, offering an intimate insight into his athletic career, first jobs in TV, falling in love, his close relationship with his father and more. While the book is full of warm tales from Ernie’s youth and hilarious outtakes featuring coworkers Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal, UNSCRIPTED does not stick solely to Life’s happy surprises. From the death of his father, the adoption of their special needs children, the health scares of his son Michael, to his battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and much more, Ernie shares the gut-wrenching side of weathering the unexpected with grace, wit, and wisdom.
Ernie lives in Braselton, Georgia, with his wife, Cheryl, and their six children, four of whom are adopted.