Vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle's speech Thursday night may not have been too memorable for many people, but for one Roy woman, it was a speech she'll never forget.
"I feel absolutely wonderful," said an obviously excited Pam Snyder LaRue, just seconds after hearing the senator speak about her on national television. "I am very honored. That was quite a thrill."During his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention in New Orleans, Quayle praised the Roy woman for the success she has achieved with the help of the Job Training Partnership Act - legislation he sponsored in 1983 that created jobs for many Americans.
Using her as a national example of someone who has benefited from the job program, Quayle said, "One of them is Pam Snyder LaRue of Roy, Utah. A single parent with four children, she was a high school dropout and on welfare. She joined a Job Training Partnership Act program. First she earned her high school equivalency credential. Then she earned an accounting certificate. Today she is a staff accountant at a vocational center. She is off welfare and proud to be making it on her own!"
LaRue told the Deseret News she knew Quayle would mention her during his speech. Job-training officials had earlier talked with her and asked if Quayle could tell her story. Then she said she received a phone call from someone in Quayle's office Thursday afternoon requesting details about her experiences and her background. She has spoken to groups about her success story but was unsure how Quayle had heard about her.
"Everyone's been asking, `Why Ogden?' " said Ursula Uecker, La-Rue's job-training program client manager. "Perhaps he (Quayle) just decided to pick a small town."
LaRue said her husband deserted her, leaving her with four children and no money, forcing her to go on welfare _ something she did not want to do.
"I was really down and depressed and humiliated," she said. "It was downgrading for me to be on welfare." She had previously lived an abundant life and said it was difficult for her to go from one extreme to another.
"I had no self-esteem at the time," LaRue said. "My husband had told me I would be nothing but a welfare recipient, and I was determined to prove him otherwise."
She later learned about the job-training program, which paid for her tuition at Stevens Henager Business College and provided day-care services. The program also helped her with gasoline and clothing vouchers at times when it was difficult to make ends meet while she was going to school.
"They gave me the incentive to go on," said LaRue, who graduated last year with a 3.98 grade-point average and a degree in accounting and managing. She said she is now trying to obtain an insurance broker's license.
When asked how she felt about being a national example she said she hoped her story can help motivate someone else to look into the job-training program and become self-supporting.
"I know there are a lot of women out there who can do the same thing," she said. "I know I'd still be on welfare today if it wasn't for the JTPA."