She was born without arms, and one of her legs is shorter than the other.
But Tooele resident Kathy Vorwaller's attitude about her disability is "it's just one of those things."Vorwaller was one of several individuals, companies and service providers honored Friday during the 16th annual Golden Key Awards luncheon in the Red Lion Hotel sponsored by the Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and the Maurice Warshaw Foundation.
She can claim many of the accomplishments people with both arms take for granted. She has completed sewing projects for which she has won awards and also is employed with the Utah Transit Authority as a computer programmer.
Accepting her award with tears in her eyes, Vorwaller thanked her family, friends and others for not discouraging her when she tried to expand her horizons.
Sherry L. Repscher, the committee's executive director, and Doug Jardine, a reporter for KUTV, Channel 2, alternated in presenting the Golden Key Awards to:
- Donald P. Holman, Sunset, an associate professor of accounting at Weber State College, who received the Governor's Trophy as Citizen of the Year.
- Daniel Nowers, Richfield; Diane McCall, Salt Lake City; Patricia Martinez, Sunset; and Veldon Wiltshire, Circleville, who used sign language to say thanks for outstanding citizen awards. They were named along with Vorwaller.
- John R. Robinson, director of Community Careers in Richfield; William S. Young, an independent living program specialist in the State Office of Rehabilitation; and Debra Mair, director of the Utah Independent Living Center - all service provider awards.
- Steve Adams, owner of Casa Del Sol, Midvale; Randy Chambers, manager of LaMont's Family Clothing Store in Logan; Thomi Barker, production manager of Larsen-Davis Inc., Provo; and Dale Gibson, owner of the McDonald's franchise in Richfield - employers of the year with fewer than 100 employees.
- Marriott Reservation Center in Salt Lake City was honored as the employer of the year with less than 500 employees, and Chromalox, a division of Emerson Electronics, North Ogden, was honored as the employer of the year with more than 500 employees.
- The Food Services Division of the Davis County School District and the Utah Transit Authority were honored as the government employers of the year.
- Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was honored as the legislator of the year for his help in passage of the American with Disabilities Act. His wife, Elaine, accepted the plaque.
- The Maurice Warshaw Service Award went to Jay and Gwyneth Rochlin. Jay Rochlin is soon to retire as the executive director of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities.
Rochlin said that on July 26 when President Bush signed the Americans with Disabilities Act, equality was finally a reality for a neglected group of Americans. He said it will allow people with disabilities to control their lives and help them find productive employment.
He said the only limitations facing people with disabilities are the ones that others place on them. He said there will be significant challenges because of the new legislation, but there also will be many benefits.