Born and raised in Decorah, Lydia Dawley will always call Iowa home. Now 17 years old, she's grown up on property that's been in her family for years.
Now, Dawley represents Winneshiek County as the 2014 Fair Queen.
"I am sure some people thought a girl like me could never be fair queen, and when I won, it was like the whole world was happy for me," Dawley said.
Dawley was born with cerebral palsy and will live with the disability for the rest of her life.
"Yes I have a disability, but I look at it as (if) I was born this way for a reason," she said.
Dawley's passion is public speaking. She travels across the state of Iowa and the Midwest talking to groups of all ages.
"I want people to know that just because someone looks different, or can't walk or talk, doesn't mean they aren't smart or don't have feelings," she said.
Dawley attended Decorah High School, and from first grade up until graduation, she's had the same para-educator.
Connie Krueger describes Dawley as an independent, confident young woman who isn't afraid to try anything.
It's the same message Dawley delivers to her audience.
"Don't be afraid to be yourself, because no one else in the world is like you," Dawley said.
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