Pat Lehman Receives Humanitarian Award

Lehman poses with the award and fellow delegates at the National Federation of Democratic Women’s conference in Charleston, WV.
Lehman poses with the award and fellow delegates at the National Federation of Democratic Women’s conference in Charleston, WV.

Political activist and retired 41-year IAM member Pat Lehman of Wichita, KS is the recipient of the National Federation of Democratic Women’s 2013 Humanitarian Award. Lehman, a former Grand Lodge Representative who retired in 2007, was recognized at the organization’s annual conference on Saturday, June 14 in Charleston, WV.
 
Lehman was the first-ever female Tool and Die Maker at Beechcraft and the first woman or union member to serve as chair of the Kansas Democratic Party. At the IAM, she served in several capacities including organizer, District 70 Secretary-Treasurer and eventually Grand Lodge Representative. She was a delegate for the National Commission on the Status of Women and has traveled to Indonesia to study working conditions of female employees.

Former Grand Lodge Representative Pat Lehman delivers her address after accepting the National Federation of Democratic Women’s 2013 Humanitarian Award.

In her address, Lehman thanked the women of Kansas for nominating her for the award and spoke to the importance of preserving voting rights.  

“My own mother could not register to vote today in the state of Kansas because she never had a birth certificate having lived in this country her entire life,” said Lehman. “I want you to think about the extreme voting laws that are being passed under the guise of ‘protecting our vote.’ We cannot allow it to continue.”

In her native Kansas, Lehman has served on the Sedgwick County Mental Health Board and the Employment Training Board for the City of Wichita. She helped found the Kansas School for Effective Learning (KANSEL).  
 
“Pat has distinguished herself as a person of action throughout her life,” said IAM International President Tom Buffenbarger in a statement read before Lehman received the award. “Although well-spoken and articulate, Pat never failed to back off impassioned words with her hands, her feet and most certainly her heart. When it came to matters of economic equality and social justice, Pat Lehman was on the front lines advocating for the causes of fairness and respect for human rights. Some people we meet in life can be viewed as takers; others are easily identified as givers. Pat Lehman is a giver, and does so freely without ever seeking recognition in return. Thus knowing and working with Pat Lehman can be described as a blessing.”

Lehman remains an advocate for labor and volunteers on campaigns for Democratic candidates. She is now pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Wichita State University.