Monday, July 03, 2006

Two Great Ladies

American Fork lost two great ladies last month.

The first was Lois Peters Andersen, a fifth-generation direct descendant of Steven Chipman (founder of American Fork), first president of the American Fork High School PTA, and 1992 Grand Marshall of the Steel Days parade. She was also a card-carrying member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. I did not know her well -- I only met her once or twice -- but I had great respect for her because she was also Juel Belmont's mother. She instilled the love of American Fork's history in her daughter, and her daughter, in turn, has infected many others with that love. It was noteworthy to me that, even while she served on the City Council, Juel reserved her evenings for her mother.

The second was Eileen Glathar. A founder of the Central Utah Center for Independent Living in Provo and recipient of the Governor's Silver Bowl for her volunteer work, Eileen was a tireless advocate for the needs of the disabled. Even at meet-the-candidates events here in American Fork, she and her husband Ralph always found a way to put in a reminder about these needs.

"You can't fight city hall if you can't get inside the building," said a recent article in the Tribune, citing a suit filed against Highland City over the main entrance to its City Hall. When I read this article, I thought of Eileen and other disabled residents and businessmen we work with here in AF, and of how basic it is to their constitutional rights that we provide them access to our meetings -- whether that's physical access or access through an oral interpreter.

My brother is profoundly deaf. When he was born in 1971, he faced a future of ostracism because of his disability. But now, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act, millions of people like him have better chances for holding jobs, raising families, and participating in public life.

It can't have been easy to fight through disabilities for these rights. But Eileen was one who did, and we are all indebted to her.

Or perhaps I should say -- as did Representative Jim Ferrin -- that she didn't fight so much as work for these rights. And, he added, it was a pleasure to work with her.


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