Past Titleholders

• 2020 •

Karli Miller

• 2019 •

Danielle DeAngelis

• 2018 •

Barb Zablotney

• 2017 •

Claire Senita

• 2016 •

Danielle Stevens

• 2014 •

Jennifer Gannen

• 2013 •

Katie Smith

• 2012 •

Dr. Josie Badge

It is hard for me to believe that I am currently writing this synopsis of my year as Ms. Wheelchair America 2012.  This year has been filled with countless new opportunities and the ability to meet hundreds of amazing individuals throughout the country and world.

As I reflect on the conferences, events, meetings, and appearances, the most amazing part of my experience has been the people.  For me, the crown has not been about a title or a status, rather it has served as a spark to light the flame of empowerment.  Disability is not synonymous with inability.  During the first night of the Ms. Wheelchair America 2012 pageant, I presented my platform of “youth leadership and empowerment.”  Youth empowerment is one of my passions and I was excited to share it with the other state titleholders, but little did I realize that I would soon be sharing this passion with the world.

Throughout my reign, I have had the opportunity to continue to share my platform and directly support youth development.    I had the chance to attend the One Young World in Zurich Switzerland, an international youth leadership summit.  Although I was representing America, I quickly realized that I was also there to empower people with disabilities.

In an attempt to warm up from the chilly Alaskan weather, I traveled south to support the Ms. Wheelchair Arizona pageant.  But a northern girl cannot leave the cold for long so my next adventure was Ski for Light in South Dakota.  I had the amazing opportunity to ski for the first time and ride a snowmobile (snowmachine). I then traveled to Alaska where I presented to the Association of Programs for Independent Living.  Youth with disabilities who live in rural communities often face unique challenges in becoming independent, empowered leaders.  I had the opportunity to assist youth in developing their leadership skills as well as discuss the barriers faced by this population of rising leaders.

Throughout the following six months I have been able to speak and volunteer in New England, Tennessee, Iowa, North Carolina, New York, and Rhode Island.  This past year has been full of amazing experiences and new opportunities.  I am so grateful to have had the chance to share my platform of youth empowerment and leadership throughout the world.

In April of 2011 I began my Ms. Wheelchair journey with the quote, “a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”  After this year of serving as Ms. Wheelchair America, I disagree.  A candle is illuminated when it lights another candle.  The flame of empowerment is uncontrollable.

Thank you Ms. Wheelchair America for allowing me to light this spark of empowerment across the world.

As Justin Dart would say, ”I love you, Lead on, Lead on.”

Josie Badger
Ms. Wheelchair America 2012

• 2010 •

Kristin Rebstock

Platform:  Affordable Accessible Housing for All

Kristin chose her platform as a result of obstacles she had to overcome when finding and securing accessible housing for herself. As a part of her professional development, she was an active participant in the Nursing Home transition team with CLASS. She understood that it was a universal issue that challenges many within the disability community. She worked closely with the Allegheny Housing Authority during her reign to help voice the concerns of Pittsburgh residents with disabilities. Some of her favorite experiences include traveling to Harrisburg to advocate for continued funding for Home and Community Based Services and speaking to local community groups and organizations about the importance of accessibility. Attending a conference spotlighting universal design and attending Nationals in Grand Rapids MI.

Kristin now lives outside Pittsburgh with her husband Justin and children Natalie and Zach. She works full-time at Aetna as a quality analyst within their Medicare division. She currently serves as MWPA vice-president and ambassador coordinator.

• 2006 •

Joycelyn Banks

• 2005 •

Debra Charles

• 2004 •

Michelle Leahy

• 2003 •

Jaclyn Kratzer

• 2002 •

Leona Gutherman

• 2001 •

Jessica Grono

• 2000 •

Kara Aiella

• 1995 •

Buffy Spicer

• 1981 •

Anita Louise Hermany

• 1980 •

Elelyn Rose Stypula

• 1979 •

Alice Ackroyd

• 1977 •

Peggy Lynn McCraken

• 1977 •

Linda Royce

(Pennsylvania-Philadelphia)

• 1976 •

Jennie Lee Morgan

• 1975 •

Christine Valasek

• 1974 •

Judy E Mangus

Ms. Wheelchair
Pennsylvania 2021
awarded to

Jessica Gardner

© Ms. Wheelchair Pennsylvania 2021