2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington

2016 Ms. Wheelchair Washington
Nicole Martini

Oct 6 Jannette had the opportunity to speak at Tacoma Golf and Club.

Oct 6 Jannette had the opportunity to speak at Tacoma Golf and Club. Thanks to the Madigan Major General for great letter of recognition.

What Jannette has been up to since returning from Ms. Wheelchair America

Jannette has been very busy these last few months since returning from the National Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant. As the current 2010 1st Runner Up Ms. Wheelchair America, Jannette has been in demand and working hard in Washington state as an advocate, community leader and overall inspiration for people with and without disabilities. I am so proud of her and to call her my friend too!
~Tammy Wilber
Ms. Wheelchair Washington State Coordinator

Jannette feature in Northwest Guardian

Link to Newspaper article in Northwest Guardian
Report from Ms. Wheelchair WA, Jannette Saxton 10/2/2009
The Fort Lewis Installation Newspaper, the Northwest Guardian came to my workplace at The Soldier Readiness Center to compose a beautiful article regarding my experience at Ms. Wheelchair America 2010 in Rapid City, South Dakota. Staff writer and former Servicewoman Laura Levering captured the essence of Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program. Many thanks to photographer Ingrid who took some amazing pictures to accompany the story. We encountered a positive response from Soldiers and civilians alike. Thank you again.- Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2009

Beginning of article:

A beauty queen with a message
Jannette Saxton, 2009 Ms. Wheelchair Washington, finished first runner up at the Ms. Wheelchair America competition held Aug. 29 in South Dakota. Saxton works as a U.S. Army mobilization and deployment specialist at Fort Lewis.

Oct 4 Ms. Wheelchair Washington was given 2 coins when she met with the General

She receieved one coin from the General and one coin from the Col at Madigan.

Jannette says, “It was a pleasure to meet the LTC with the Wounded Warriors. He is an incomplete SCI and serves us proudly. THANK YOU!”

Report from Ms. Wheelchair WA, Jannette Saxton 10/2/2009
As part of Disability Awareness month I have been proud to take part in numerous events this October. The Wounded Warrior Battalion welcomed Brigadier General Munson as part of their Town Hall visit and meeting with Fort Lewis’ Soldier and Family Resource Center where wounded and their Families come to take part in the rehabilitation process and bond with one another. General Munson and Colonel Keller of Madigan Army Medical Center arrived to think the Wounded Warriors and their Families for their sacrifice at home and overseas.

I was honored to receive two recognition of excellence coins from the Colonel and Brigadier General who wished to acknowledge The Ms. Wheelchair Washington’s deep commitment to Veterans living with disabilities. I wish to take a moment to recognize the courage of Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), Danny Dudek, and the Wounded Warrior Battalion Commander for the installation. LTC Dudek has incomplete spinal cord injury and serves bravely alongside other Service Members who have experienced the impact of disability and the meaning of service to fellow man. It was a joy to meet a leader so passionate about the well-being of his Soldiers.

In my time as Ms. Wheelchair Washington I have continually expressed a deep to overflowing well of gratitude for those men and women who have and are currently served in the United States Armed Forces. I felt a deep sense of pride in my country as well as being a member of population that daily, optimistically overcome obstacles to make a difference and shine by example. I will treasure my coins always aware of the influence positive, compassionate and inspiring leadership can have on those on a magnificent journey of wellness.

Bates Technical College, Disability Awareness Day, Featuring Ms. Wheelchair Washington and Keynote speaker, Mark Wellman

Jannette enjoyed speaking at Bates.
“Thanks to the people from Seattle Adaptive Sports and Tacoma Metro Parks as well. Mark Wellman is amazing!”

Report from Ms. Wheelchair WA, Jannette Saxton 10/15/2009
I thoroughly enjoyed acting as the Master of Ceremonies for Bates Technical College’s, (Tacoma Campus), Disability Awareness Day. The key note speaker Mark Wellman sustained a spinal cord injury after falling during a rock climb. Mr. Wellman lives by and speaks to the philosophy of “No Limits.” He has made extraordinary efforts to include all individuals regardless of abilities or physical limitations in climbing and other execrating outdoor activities such as mountain climbing and biking. The audience watched a video that highlighted the artistry and beauty of disabled body border, a hang glider, para-sailor and a scuba who wildly pursued their passions. Mark spoke to the creation and use of specialized climbing gear for individuals unable to use their legs to climb. I was inspired by Mark’s focus and drive. His story was truly an encouragement to those who have wondered just what to do with those mountains in their way. After listening to Mark my advice is to simply start climbing and upon reaching the summit you may just find the victory has been in the brilliance of the journey. As you oversee the valley below; you may discover your struggles and triumphs have in fact blazed a unique trial of accomplishment for those coming after you looking to conquer their fears and live in victory; using what was met to hinder you for the good and benefit of your community.
For more information on Mark Wellman


Jannette featured on Army Media TV

October 18th:
Update on Jannette Saxton Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2009/ 2010 1ST Runner up, Ms. Wheelchair America:

Link to Story about Ms. Wheelchair Washington on
The Army Media Player is the official video player of the US Army.

Reception held in honor of Ms. Wheelchair Washington:

Reception held in honor of Ms. Wheelchair Washington:
Report From Jannette, 10/18/2009
“Tonight precious church home in Steilacoom is holding a reception in recognition of my time as Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2009. Thank you to my friends and family for praying a supporting me. Your love and generosity have spurred me on the amazing place I am today. Thank you”

Oct 26th- Jannette attendees Disability Awareness Day at Pierce College

Oct 26th- Jannette attendees Disability Awareness Day at Pierce College
Jannette Saxton “Speaking at Pierce College Puyallup Campus for Disability Awareness Day! It was wonderful to attend! Thanks so much to everyone for your ongoing support of the Ms. Wheelchair WA Program!”

Here is an article about the event: http://www.pierce.ctc.edu/news/?m=200810
For more information, contact Patrick Murrell via phone at (253) 864-3301 or via email at pmurrell@pierce.ctc.edu.


Ms. Wheelchair WA and Power wheelchair soccer

Oct 27th
Jannette Saxton Ms. Wheelchair Washington INVITED TO plays wheelchair soccer
Report from Jannette: 10/27/09
“Thank you to the great people at Pierce College, and thanks to Tom for inviting me to play soccer with the Rollin' Thunder!”

For more information on the Rollin Thunder and Wheelchair Soccer, visits their website:


Jannette says “Thoughts and prayers with the fine people of Ft. Hood. Keep the families of those who have been killed in your prayers!
Jannette Saxton http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/11/06/fort.hood.munley/index.html

Nov 9th: Jannette was invited to speak at for an organization called MOPS

“Mothers of Pre-Schoolers” conference- She spoke about what it is like being a child with a disability
MOPS stands for Mothers of Preschoolers. MOPS International exists to meet the needs of every mom - urban, suburban and rural moms, stay-at-home and working moms, teen, single and married moms - moms with different lifestyles who all share a similar desire to be the very best moms they can be! MOPS recognizes that the years from infancy through kindergarten are foundational in a mother-child relationship and are filled with unique needs.
MOPS photo:
MOPS website: http://www.mops.org/

Ms. Wheelchair America Documentary: DEFINING BEAUTY

Nov 10th- Have you heard of the documentary called “Defining Beauty: More than Just a Sash and a Crown? Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair Washington will be featured in the documentary. Here is more information about the documentary
Ms. Wheelchair America Documentary: DEFINING BEAUTY

MS.WHEELCHAIR AMERICA is a feature length documentary focusing on the extraordinary lives of the women of Ms. Wheelchair America and their journey toward the 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant. It is the story of women who challenge themselves on a daily basis to live life beyond their limitations and by doing so, redefine the perception of beauty and what it means to be disabled.Women from twenty-seven states, with different disabilities, compete in this national competition every year. Since 1972 the mission of Ms. Wheelchair America has been to “provide an opportunity for women of achievement, who happen to be wheelchair users, to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 52 million Americans living with disabilities.” Unlike traditional beauty pageants, this is not a contest to select the most attractive contestant, instead it’s a competition based on “advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokesperson for individuals with disabilities.”

Here is their website: http://definingbeautydoc.blogspot.com/
Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=60228618490
Here is a YouTube video to give you an idea of what the documentary is going to be like: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P6Cn09NIOZo

Nov 11th- Veterans Day

During this past year, Jannette has had the opportunity to be a VIP guest at the National Veterans Games, and meet many members of the Northwest Paralyzed Veterans of America Chapter and on this Veterans Day, Jannette has this to say”
“Thank you to the men and women who have served so tirelessly to protect America's shores and have selflessly left their loved ones behind to serve overseas! Happy Veterans Day, the country is better and brighter because of you!”
Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair WA 2009
Jannette & Soldier at Mariners Game

November: Logan Magazine Feature:

Over the summer Jannette, myself (Tammy Wilber) and Logan Olsen, Founder and CEO of Logan magazine had a chance to have lunch at Nordstrom Café in Spokane, WA. Logan created a magazine a few years ago after she sustained a brain injury at 16 years old.

The mission of Logan Magazine is to inspire, encourage, and inform young people with disabilities about how to lead a lifestyle that is productive, purposeful and pleasurable. Their goal is to motivate young people to live, work, play, dream big and look great experience all life has to offer.
Support a great magazine by subscribing at the website:
Logan magazine and the Ms. Wheelchair Washington Program has a lot of the same values and that is to encourage people with disabilities in Washington and nationally, to
“Live life to the fullest, despite whatever challenges we all have and to make dreams come true!”

Four Police Officers Were Shot and Killed in Ms. Wheelchair Washington's hometown of Lakewood, WA

Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair WA 2009- Lives in the town of Lakewood, WA, where there were 4 officers shot and killed at Parkland Forza today.
Jannette says “She sends her prayers and may God be with their families and the police force.”

We all have to be so thankful for the officers that risk their lives everyday!

December 6th- Congratulations to Jannette Saxton on buying her first house!!!

It has been a very busy year as Ms. Wheelchair Washington and through this year, Jannette has done so many incredible things. I am so excited for her and her success, even during these hard times she has bought her first accessible house. I know this is a huge success for anyone and I know it will make her quality of life that much better!! I can't wait to have a get together!! As State Coordinator of the pageant, I have the honor of getting to know each contestant and title holder every year. I am so blessed that the last few Ms. Wheelchair Washington's have become some of my dearest friends!
I am so happy for you Jannette and wish you much happiness in your new home
~Tammy Wilber
Ms. Wheelchair WA State Coordinator

Article about Jannette

A beauty queen with a message
Deployment specialist finds many things to be grateful for
Laura M. Levering/Northwest Guardian
Published: 01:03PM October 1st, 2009

Ingrid Barrentine/Northwest Guardian
Jannette Saxton, 2009 Ms. Wheelchair Washington, finished first runner up at the Ms. Wheelchair America competition held Aug. 29 in South Dakota. Saxton works as a U.S. Army mobilization and deployment specialist at Fort Lewis.
She dons a crown, wears a sash, occasionally puts on a gown and has a smile that “lights up a room,” but Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2009, Jannette Saxton, hardly considers herself a beauty queen.
Saxton, a deployment specialist at Waller Hall, said the pageant is about more than external beauty.
Born with cerebral palsy and wheelchair-bound her whole life, the 31-year-old Lakewood resident said her friends and coworkers encouraged her to enter the Ms. Wheelchair Washington pageant after “Googling” it to see whether such a program existed. When she discovered it did, Saxton began the application process with hopes of making a difference for others with disabilities.
“As a young person, I didn’t have many mentors who had used wheelchairs or had physical disabilities and yet pursued independence in their dreams,” she said. “I saw people who perhaps didn’t have a way of educating themselves or being independent in mind.”
Saxton, on the other hand, was raised by her parents to be independent. She said she had an “above average” childhood compared to most others she knew in wheelchairs.
“My family never allowed me to see my disability as an excuse not to try,” she said.
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Instead, they tried to understand the social awkwardness of being in a wheelchair and impressed upon Saxton the importance of using her intelligence, wit and emotional abilities to be a contributing member of society.
“When I was younger, my mom had to explain to me that I couldn’t be a ballerina, and I obviously wasn’t going to be the next track star,” she joked.
“They understood moments like that.”
Saxton’s mainstream education, abundance of health care resources and pursuit of higher education helped her become the contributor her parents spoke of. Her accomplishments include a bachelor’s degree in journalism and public relations from Arizona State University, followed by a master’s degree in counseling from the University of San Diego.
Despite her physical beauty, educational background and zeal for life, Saxton said she was shocked when she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2009 at the Northwest Paralyzed Veterans Association in February. Adding to her surprise was a recent victory as first runner-up at the nationwide pageant.
“I was thrilled, but there were other very qualified women involved, and I really believe any of them would’ve represented us very well.”
Representation. That’s what the pageant really comes down to, said Tammy Wilber, state pageant coordinator and Ms. Wheelchair Washington 2006.
“It’s a way for a woman, who happens to be in a wheelchair, to get out there and really do something positive for the disabled community,” Wilber said.
Saxton said she hopes to do just that by achieving confidence through inspiration, optimism and nurturing. Simply put, she’s taking action.
“Disability is one of the things that regardless of ethnicity, religion, age or socioeconomic status, can affect anyone.”
Saxton’s status has afforded her the opportunity to speak at public forums and meet with disabled people of all backgrounds. Vietnam veterans are one group she is particularly fond of for their sacrifices.
“Because of their willingness and courage to pursue legislation and equal rights, now I have the right to be gainfully employed and seen as viable amongst my peers,” Saxton said. “I really owe them my gratitude for their courage on and off the battlefield.”
Saxton said one thing she wishes people understood is that everyone has some kind of mountain to climb in life; some just happen to be more visible than others.
“I have encountered people that emotionally have been through so much, but they don’t know how to wrap their minds around it enough to take another step … to me, that is just as disabling as some physical disabilities,” she said.
Her advice is to look for ways to help somebody, regardless of physical status.
“You can heal emotionally and spiritually if you find a way to help somebody else,” she said.
Her ability do so is one of many qualities that make Saxton perfect for the titles she holds as Ms. Wheelchair Washington and a deployment specialist.
Between working with paralyzed veterans and deploying Soldiers on a daily basis, Wilber believes Saxton is in a unique position that will enable her to bring about positive change.
“She makes such a connection with Soldiers before they leave that if they come back injured, maybe they’ll remember (Saxton) and think, ‘If she can do it, I can do it.’”
Saxton looks forward to continue working with Soldiers and getting more involved with the Paralyzed Veterans Association of America.
With an uncertain but positive outlook on the future, Saxton said she’s open to whatever comes her way.
“Hopefully, I can continue to make a difference by having people realize that limitations never define you. What defines you is the difference you’ve made in others’ lives.”
Laura M. Levering: laura.may.levering@us.army.mil

More Photos from Ms. Wheelchair America

All the contestants at Ms. Wheelchair America during "Fun Day" at Mt. Rushmore

WA Table Display
(she won an award for it)

Jannette at airport coming home

Photos from 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America

Jannette 1st Runner Up at 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America Pageant

PHOTO: Jannette, 1st Runner Up with Ms. Wheelchair California, 2nd Runner Up)

Jannette Saxton, the 2009 Ms. Wheelchair Washington was named the 1st runner up at the 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, held August 29th in Rapid City, South Dakota. Jannette, who resides in Lakewood, WA, has had Cerebral Palsy since birth.
She works as a Deployment Specialist at Fort, Lewis, WA and sets up services for the families of soldiers before they deploy far from America’s shores. As Ms. Wheelchair Washington, Jannette has been giving back to veterans and thanking them for their service to our country. She had the honor of attending the National Paralyzed Veterans games, held in Spokane, WA in July. In fact, Jannette’s own call to service has been to share her message of Taking A.C.T.I.O.N!
“Achieving Confidence Through Inspiration, Optimism, and Nurturing”.

Jannette believes that the greatest gift a person can give others is not just their words of encouragement, but the strength and consistency of their example and ultimately “Taking A.C.T.I.O.N”!

Jannette says, “I am so honored and thrilled to become the 1st runner up this year at the 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America pageant, and am so proud to have represent the great state of Washington!.”
WELCOME JANNETTE HOME: There will be a gathering at SeaTac airport Sunday, August 30 at 8PM to welcome home our amazing Ms. Wheelchair Washington back to her home state.
Please contact Tammy Wilber, Ms. Wheelchair Washington State Coordinator, if you would like to come to the airport, or if you would like to interview Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair Washington/2010 1st Runner Up, Ms. Wheelchair America.
Phone: 206-714-1253
Email: http://us.mc529.mail.yahoo.com/mc/compose?to=mswheelchairwashington@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.mswheelchairwashington.blogspot.com/
Tammy Wilber
Cell. 206.714.1253

Update from Jannette Saxton, Ms. Wheelchair Washington about 2010 Ms. Wheelchair America Competition

I received a call from Jannette to update me and to share with everyone her experience through her first few days at the National Ms. Wheelchair 2010 America competition.
She said that so far it has been amazing, especially to meet such amazing, strong, inspiring women with various disabilities from all over the United States. She feels so bless and honored to be there representing the great state of Washington.
They took all the contestants on an outing to Mt. Rushmore, which was the first time for Jannette and said the view was spectacular!
Each year all the contestants with meet with the judges to do the interview process. Jannette is doing her interviews today (Wednesday and Thursday) both in the afternoon. She is feeling confident and said she feels as though she will go into the interviews with confidence and just be herself.
Jannette, who is a Deployment Specialist for Fort Lewis, WA, sets up services for troops before they have to go far from Americans shores. She said one of the woman volunteering at the pageant, found out what Jannette did for a job, and they made a great connection. The volunteers son is serving abroad.
Stay tuned for more updates from Jannette, from the National Ms. Wheelchair America 2010 Pageant, in Rapid City, SD.
If you would like to leave Jannette a message: 1)email her at mswheelchairwashington@yahoo.com2) Leave her a message on the Ms. Wheelchair Washington facebook pageor3) If you are facebook friends with Jannette- leave her a message there
ThanksTammy WilberMs. Wheelchair Washington State CoordinatorMs. Wheelchair Washington 06'

Some other photos from PVA trip in Spokane

Here are some other photos from the trip to the National PVA games and all the events I attended


Both Tammy Wilber (State Coordinator) and I are former Shiner's patients, and I was so pleased to see how far research has come to help children and their families heal. Your tireless efforts to help children are selfless and beautiful. I am so glad you will be able to continue your work. The tour of the hospital with Doug from Rocklyn Medical, Tammy Wilber and myself, was enlightening and thank you so much for your time!

Rocklyn Medical Fulfills Jannette's Dream of Riding on a Harley

To Doug and Robin and the folks at Rocklyn, thanks for the wonderful welcome lunch. Your staff was amazingly welcoming and food, well, the chicken salad was the best. You are truly a company who puts the customer first and promotes independence. The Harley ride was a dream come true, it was better than I can ever imagine running to be. The countryside was beautiful and the bike....WOW!


I was invited by Rocklyn Medical Supply, Inc. to come and speak to their staff about my role as Ms. Wheelchair Washington. Tammy Wilber, the State Coordinator for Ms. Wheelchair Washington works for Rocklyn Medical Supply, as the Northwest Sales representative and it was so great to meet who she is working for.

Rocklyn Medical Supply, Inc. is primarily a disposable medical equipment and supply company that has been based in Davenport, Washington, since 1999. They service customers nationwide, and also internationally. They are a company that prides themselves on the personal service they give to all customers, and the CEO and founder, Doug Nachitgal, has a spinal cord injury. I truly believe in supporting companies owned by other with disabilities, because they understand the community they are serving!

Contact them at 1.888.378.2206 or visit their website at http://www.rocklynmedical.com/


Dave and Ernie of the Northwest PVA, I am truly grateful for your friendship and invitation to the games. You have both been nothing but generous to me since I was crowned at the PVA in February. Ernie, I appreciate your warmth and humor and Dave, like I said before, great opening speech I am sure everyone was moved like I was by your sincerity. To Matthew, thank you including me in the opening ceremony, your work and efforts on behalf of the Vets did not go unnoticed. I am sure Colorado has big shoes to fill at the 2010 games.


The opening ceremony was moving and made me swell with American pride. Veterans, you sense of independence and victory was felt by every onlooker who came to cheer you on. Even the National Anthem held fresh meaning for me as it played. You march into the convention center is what freedom is all about; in spite of numerous obstacles you have pressed forward and demanded nothing but the best from yourselves as veterans and as Americans.


I truly enjoyed meeting and greeting veterans as the families fromand veterans stopped by the TiLite both. I have loved my Tilite wheelchair for years, and it was an honor to make an appearance at the TiLite booth and meet the wonderful people who work for TiLite. Thank you to Marty, Chad and Todd for graciously allowing me to befriend the Vets as they checked out all the merchandise and mingled.

I have never tried out Magic Wheels before, and just loved them! Jill at Magic wheels, thanks for your patience and I hope to outfit my ride with your awesome wheels. You kept me smiling.

To Ron Boninger at Natural Fit Hand Rims, I am looking forward to outfitting my TiLite with rims that truly made getting around easier. I noticed a HUGE different pushing around with the demos I tried out. It will make a huge difference with my hand and wrist pain. Thank you!


During the week I am privileged to spend the work day as a Mobilization and Deployment Specialist for the US Army at Fort Lewis, Washington. I see Soldiers prepare for deployment to the Middle East. They willingly separate themselves from their families and friends all for a cause and a call of duty. Often, I see Soldiers as they return at the deployment cycle's end happy to be on American soil and prepare for a homecoming often full of love, joy and the lives they left behind. Recent involvement with the Paralyzed Veterans has opened my eyes how far the arm of service reaches and takes hold of the image we hold dear: the image of the self and how we perceive it and use it to change the world. Over four days in Spokane, I marveled at the strength and humor and determination of service members who rose to the challenges of disability and displayed amazing athletic ability and patriotism. During the Expo, I enjoyed meeting veterans and smiling for pictures with America's finest heroes. To the Vets I greeted, thank you for sharing your stories. You make me proud to be an American and an American with a disability. Your years of struggle have cleared a path for individuals with disabilities who desired a place of meaning and significance in this magnificent country. Your supportive friends and family deserve recognition as well, the community of people with disabilities would not have progressed without your courage. So many veterans asked for a photo with me, I have to admit I was befuddled. I felt instead, that I should be asking for a photo with you; my real life, flesh and blood heroes.
My four day journey in Spokane was unforgettable. I am so proud to be a Washington girl who showed pride for her country, state and community this last week! There are so many people who desire to make difference in the world. It takes so much courage to look beyond the challenge held in our own reflection and yet, still, use our challenges to change the world. Thank you to all of you.