Barbara and Judd Jacobson founded Flying Wheels Travel 40 years ago. Judd, who was a quadriplegic and business leader passed away in 1991. The Judd Jacobson Memorial Award was established in 1992 to recognize the pursuit or achievement of a business entrepreneurial endeavor by a person with a physical disability or sensory impairment.
The recipient of this year’s $5,000 cash award is Lynn Lehman. In April 1995, Lehman, was a busy single mom, and a barber/owner. While driving to her mother's house to pick up her kids, a van in front of Lehman swerved to avoid a car driving the wrong way on the interstate. Lehman's car was hit head-on by a drunk driver and then rear-ended by several other cars forced into a sudden stop by the crash.
Lehman was left with a brain injury, multiple crushed and broken bones, and in a coma for five months. When she woke from the coma, she faced months of rehabilitation. Lehman spent almost a year learning to walk and talk, and regaining use of her left arm and hand. Determined to discover whether or not she could return to work as a barber, Lehman apprenticed with another barber for several months, until she felt ready to return to her shop.
Today, Lehman wears braces on both legs, walks with a cane and has difficulty remembering day-to-day events and appointments. Despite her challenges, she is committed to making her business a success and her shop a safe gathering place for her north Minneapolis community.
"The $5,000 from the Jacobson Award will allow me to replace and update three barber chairs and sinks, and improve lighting and signage," Lehman said. She also plans to purchase hair care products she can sell in her shop. "I want to make this a safe place where people come for all their hair care needs. And, a little love besides," said Lehman.
Flying Wheels Travel is not only the first and most experienced travel agency for people with a disability, chronic illness or mature travelers, but Barbara and Judd Jacobson were advocates to opening the world to people with a disability. Today, Flying Wheels Travel still plays a major role in advocacy efforts on behalf of those with a chronic illness, seniors and people with a disability.
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