Smithville double amputee honored with Amelia Earhart Award

A Smithville, Missouri native was honored with the Amelia Earhart Award for her triumph over adversity.

The Atchison Amelia Earhart Foundation believes she’s a true mentor for girls.

Mandy Horvath has climbed one of the tallest mountains in the world and the tallest natural pyramid in the world — all without legs.

This latest honor makes her feel like she’s on top of the world in Atchison, Kansas.

“I’m honored and very grateful and thankful,” Horvath said.

Horvath is receiving this year’s Amelia Earhart Pioneering Achievement Award. Earhart was born in Atchison in 1897.

“I think that we would’ve gotten along really well,” Horvath said.

Horvath is a double amputee. She lost both her legs in a horrible train accident.

But when you have a determined spirit, sky’s the limit on what can be accomplished.

Horvath is the first bi-lateral amputee to static skydive and the first woman to ascend the Manitou Incline.

Horvath also tackled Pike’s Peak twice.

Last year, she added Mount Kilimanjaro to that list. As well as Cerro Tusa, the world’s tallest natural pyramid.

“I got vertigo because I kept climbing up and I would slide back,” Horvath said.

“She says, I’m not an astronaut or something, why did you pick me,” Foundation President and Founder Karen Seaberg said. “Look what she’s done under horrible circumstances, and she’s risen above it – that’s the whole point of this.”

They’re building a new hangar at the airport in Earhart’s honor. Inside is a 1935 Lockheed Electra 10-E.

Seaberg said it’s the last plane in the world that is exactly like the one Earhart was flying when she disappeared.

“Amelia chose this because it went higher faster,” Seaberg said.

Horvath is inspired by the several glass ceilings Earhart shattered with her airplane. She plans to continue that legacy in her own adventures.

“Seeing and learning and hearing about all the things that she had to fight against, it’s pretty inspiring,” Horvath said, “and makes me want to continue that fight for women.”

Horvath also gets $10,000 to donate to the charity of her choice.