Local named 2024 Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming

    Originally reported by Tommy Culkin at Oil City News.

    (Casper, WY) — Riverton resident Harlee Speyer will spend the coming year advocating for and championing disabled Wyoming residents after being crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming on Saturday.

    Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming, which is a part of Ms. Wheelchair America, is an organization that celebrates women in wheelchairs and their leadership, achievements and advocacy. The woman who holds the title of Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming does advocacy and outreach throughout the year, meeting with legislators and lawmakers as well as attending statewide events to help bring awareness to issues that affect the disabled community.


    “I definitely want to be able to help raise awareness,” she said. “I’m looking forward to opening up people’s eyes to issues that affect us but that don’t affect able-bodied people, and that they might not be very familiar with because of that.”

    Speyer, who works as a paraprofessional at Jackson Elementary School, was severely injured in a car wreck at the age of 17 that saw her ejected from the car after it rolled multiple times, requiring the use of a wheelchair.

    Though Speyer was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming this weekend, her experience with advocacy has already begun. Speyer said she’s traveled to several schools in the Riverton area, sharing her story with hundreds of young children.

    “I think it’s important to teach kids that just because we get around in a different way doesn’t mean we’re scary or different from any able-bodied people,” she said. “If you reach them when they’re younger and more impressionable, it’ll have a real impact.”


    As Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming, Speyer said she plans on making accessibility her top priority. Accessibility issues currently facing Wyomingites include a lack of handicapped parking in many locations, a lack of wheelchair-accessible public transit in many places, health insurance aid for wheelchair-bound people and more, she said.

    “[Improving accessibility] means leveraging technology to bridge the gaps to provide solutions to enhance everyone’s independence,” she said.

    “My platform is improving accessibility, and I’m looking forward to talking with some senators and legislators to help make that happen,” Speyer added. “It’s no secret that Wyoming is a bit behind the times in many ways when it comes to accessibility.”


    Casper resident and outgoing Ms. Wheelchair Wyoming Teka Perry said she’s confident that Speyer will excel in her new role.

    “She’ll be great,” Perry said with a smile. “She’s an excellent speaker and she’s so on top of everything.”


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