A central Iowa woman who was in a serious car accident as an infant was crowned over the weekend as the state’s new spokeswoman for people with disabilities. Jayde Henry is Ms. Wheelchair Iowa for 2012. Henry is a 30-year-old from Des Moines and she explains her goals for the year ahead as the new titleholder.
Henry says, “My platform is to bridge the gaps between disabled and non-disableds in a matter of interacting by educating kids in school about us and to eliminate any teasing.” The pageant was held in Iowa City on Saturday and focuses on the person’s accomplishments since the onset of their disability.
In Henry’s case, she lost the use of her legs at a very young age, but has learned to adapt and overcome obstacles. “Six months old, I was in a car accident down in Leon,” Henry says. “When I was five years old, I started using a wheelchair, wheeling myself around. Now, I drive a truck that has suicide doors and hand controls in it and I get around pretty much anywhere.”
As the assistant manager of an Indianola graphics company, Henry helps customers with orders on items from vinyl signs to embroidery, in addition to doing inventory and some accounting. As the new Ms. Wheelchair Iowa, she hopes to reach out to other women, men and children who are in similar situations as herself.
Henry says, “I hope to encourage other disabled Iowans to speak out and address their issues they have in their towns so we can get those resolved and we can all work together.” Any spare time over the next year will be spent talking before civic groups, schools, churches and making appearances at parades and other events.
Henry will represent Iowa at the Ms. Wheelchair America competition in August in Rhode Island.