Ms. Wheelchair Washington, Janette Saxon, a lifelong resident of Lakewood, spoke to members of the Rotary Club of Lakewood Friday noon at Tacoma Country & Golf Club. Stricken with cerebral palsy at birth, Ms. Saxon recently was named runner-up in the national Ms. Wheelchair America competition.
Currently, she works as a Specialist for the Mobilization and Deployment Program of Fort Lewis. She works with dual-military and single parent soldiers as they prepare for deployments. This year she wants to work with the Paralyzed Veterans of America and follow up with soldiers when they return from their deployment and visit soldiers who have been injured.
Jannette encourages people with disabilities to pursue a higher education. She believes her education has been an investment and lead to her independence. She is very proud of her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Public Relations from Arizona State University, and her Master’s degree in Counseling from the University of San Diego. In 2006, she ended up graduating with a 3.98 grade point average.
“I am grateful for the ability to directly impact soldiers and listen as they prepare for a life altering and potentially harmful mission, far from America’s shores,” she told Rotarians. She also has a strong passion to motivate young people with disabilities to strive to accomplish their dreams and feel inspired to achieve their life goals. She knows first-hand that children with disabilities can often feel isolated, but with a positive self-image they can find an optimistic spirit through nurturing, inspiring, confidence and enrichment.
“The greatest gift a person can give others is not just words of encouragement, but the strength and consistency of their example,” she added.