Great State: Last Poster Child, First TV Newswoman, Pam Henry Now Tells Her Own Story

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA -- Pam Henry is the first to admit spending far too much time parked in front of her computer.

"Are you a big facebooker?" asks a visitor to her small apartment.

"Huge," she smiles.

But forgive this longtime journalist her wide variety of interests and a universe of friends and contacts piled up over what's been a fascinating life so far.

"I think my life has been grand," she says, "But I don't think I'm grand."

Little Pam contracted polio as a toddler in a time just before the Salk vaccine became widely available.

Her parents taught her to come and to hope.

In a documentary film she states, "I didn't think I was different in a bad way. I just had braces and crutches and the other children didn't."

At the age of 8 she became the last national poster child for the March of Dimes polio campaign.

As the rush to vaccinate against the virus went on she took a semester from school to visit the White House, the be on TV, to give interviews and meet the stars.

She liked the attention.

Henry recalls, "I got used to the media and I liked the media."

Enrolling at OU she knew there were no women reporters on local TV, but she pursued her journalism degree anyway.

In 1972 news director Ernie Schultz hired her as Oklahoma City's very first female television reporter.

She walked into Channel 4 unafraid.

"I can't think of anytime when I've ever been intimidated," she says. "I just went in there hopeful."

Pam worked here.

She worked in Washington D.C. then at every other TV station in Oklahoma City, 16 years as a news director herself at OETA.

She's a member of the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame and now a strong advocate for the disabled through a mayor's special committee.

Not long ago a former co-worker had a conversation with Pam, then a far-reaching interview.

Don Sherry knew there was plenty of subject matter for him to produce a documentary film.

From the modern KFOR-TV newsroom he says, "So many people who watched her here on television had no idea that she even had a disability."

For a little girl, then a reporter who always insisted on standing on her own two feet, Pam Henry manages to stand taller than just about anyone.

Henry still chairs the Mayor's Council on Disability Concerns.

Don Sherry's hour-long documentary airs Thursday, July 16, 2015 on OETA at 7pm.