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Author: Rebecca Walsh THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE; SLTribune Edition: Final
Section: Features
Page: J1
Features Index Terms:
Achievement, Women’s Issues, Social Issues Features Estimated printed pages: 10

0ctober 9, 1994. Page J1

Article Text:Lee Anne Walker was supposed to die 44 years ago. Instead, she learned to ride a bike, went to college, graduated from law school and opened her own business. Walker doesn’t bother to keep up with the latest buzzword to describe her birth defect — spina bifida. She named her company Handi Van when “handicapped” was still the term for today’s more popular “disabled.” “What was I going to do? Change the name?” The company transports disabled clients to and from doctors’ appointments, work and weddings. Walker is equally pragmatic about her protruding split spine. This summer, when she enrolled in an art workshop at Snowbird and other classmates bounded up trails to Albion Basin meadows in search of wildflowers, she bought a used ATV to get around. “You can’t just have a dream,” she said. “You have to figure out how to get there.” The YWCA has rewarded Walker’s determination with its Outstanding Achievement Award for business. She and five other women will be presented the awards Tuesday at LeaderLuncheon VI. The YWCA LeaderLuncheon VI at the Marriott Hotel, 75 S. West Temple, is from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Writer Sandra Cisneros is the speaker. Other award winners are Theresa Martinez for teaching; Alice Kasai in human services; Lucy Osborn in science, medicine and technology; Kathryn Bond Stockton in arts and communication; and Frances Hoopes in government and public service. When Walker was born, doctors told her parents she would die within a year. Doctors recommended a children’s hospital and told the couple to go home and start over. But Walker’s parents took her home and spoiled her with gifts that “were not age-appropriate. They thought I was going to die.” She thought she would too until she was 30. “Then I started to relax.” Walker graduated from Brigham Young University with a bachelor’s degree in history, political science and genealogy and compiled genealogy records for families to make money until graduating from the University of Utah law school in 1980. She still has a law practice. Walker established her business in 1984 with her ex-husband, partially to take care of her need for transportation after surgery. She calls Handi Van “something between Gold Cross and UTA’s Flextrans. “We’re not looking at our people as patients, we’re looking at them as passengers,” she said. “These people are living their lives. They don’t want to be patronized.” She hires the five full-time drivers herself. “If they don’t know how to act around me, they aren’t hired.” Since the company started, Walker has seen at least half a dozen other van services come and go. Her perspective separates her company from the rest. “I care about the people we’re serving and I care that it’s done right,” she said. “If we folded, there’d be a group of people left with nowhere to go.” …

(followed stories and pictures of all six honored)

Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune Kathryn Bond Stockton, English/women’s-studies professor, is honored in arts, communication. Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune Pediatrician and health-sciences administrator Lucy Osborn is YWCA winner in science, medicine, technology. Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune U. of U. sociology professor Theresa Martinez is the YWCA honoree in education. Lynn R. Johnson/The Salt Lake Tribune Alice Kasai receives YWCA achievement award in human services for her service to Utahns. Lynn R. Johnson/The Salt Lake Tribune Frances Hoopes has history of public service. She is achievement winner in government. Paul Fraughton/The Salt Lake Tribune Lee Anne Walker is recipient of the YWCA LeaderLuncheon award in business. (c) 1994 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Record Number: 1010EAA356B9B690





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