Award winning journalist Burney shows determination and class in overcoming challenges

She was the NFPW Communicator of Achievement in 1993, the National Mother of the Year in 1991, has won over 250 state and national awards for her columns, articles and books. One of the highlights of the national conference in Iowa/Nebraska in 2011 was the entertaining presentation team of Joan Burney and her daughter Juli Burney. What an entertaining team. I attended the May meeting of Nebraska Press Women and was delighted to see Joan Burney in attendance and making marvelous progress from her recent medical issues. She even led the group in song during the meeting. Her doctors call her a wonder woman and I agree. Meet another unique, unbelievable and amazing NFPW member, Joan Burney.

 Name:  Joan R. Burney, M.S. Ed.

Joan Burney, sitting, and her daughter Juli

Joan Burney, sitting, and her daughter Juli

City and State: Hartington and Lincoln, Nebraska

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Nebraska Press Women, see website www.jburney.com for all the details

Years a member of NFPW: since the late 1960’s

Tell us a little about you.

Joan Burney was a farm wife who became an award winning columnist and feature writer as well as psychological counselor, motivational speaker, author, music director and self described “klutz”.  She has won many national writing awards, been named the Nebraskan of the Year, was the 1991 National Mother of the year, and all while raising 6 kids, 5 boys and a girl.  Now she is a grandmother of 4, 3 girls and a boy. Joan lost her husband in 2005, broke her neck in a car accident in 2006, and in 2007, Joan suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused her aphasia (struggle with finding words to speak) however she retained her writing skills and continued writing her column until a stroke in 2013, which took her reading and writing skills as well, a condition called alexia without agraphia.

Joan has been doing intensive therapy since her stroke and has partially recovered her ability to read, write and mostly to speak. Her condition is so unique that the UNL Barkley Center of Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic conducted a study on therapies with Joan which has lead them to discover new therapies to help others that have the same challenges.  Joan won her most recent award from the Nebraska Speech-Language Hearing Association for her great attitude and determination, inspiring everyone who has a challenge to live life to the fullest.  She does not stop no matter what obstacles life gives her.

Any career advice you would give?

You shouldn’t set out to win awards or make a name for yourself you should just set out to help people.

Joan with NE Governor Dave Heineman, First Lady Sally Ganem and their dog Snickers at the Governor Mansion's annual Easter Egg hunt for the foster care system.

Joan with NE Governor Dave Heineman, First Lady Sally Ganem and their dog Snickers at the Governor Mansion’s annual Easter Egg hunt for the foster care system.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Right now I wish I had my ability to read, write and speak again. I miss writing my columns. I have so much I want to tell people.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would love to be living on my farm in Hartington full time. Right now it is just not possible.

What book are you reading?

Dr. Seuss books.  They are helping me regain my reading skills.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people I talk with don’t even realize that I have a problem.  I think they are surprised to find out.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Because I love the women in the group.  They are my friends, my support group, my inspiration.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.  

I am on Facebook and also have a website – www.jburney.com

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3 Comments on “Award winning journalist Burney shows determination and class in overcoming challenges”

  1. Juli Burney Says:

    Thank you Teri for sharing Mom’s story, she is an unbelievable role model! And I should know since I’m her daughter!

    • tlehre Says:

      Thanks Juli. Your Mom is an outstanding role model. Her NFPW family is so proud of her and all her accomplishments. Best wishes to both of you.

  2. Cynthia Says:

    Joan’s career advice — you should just set out to help people — is spot on.


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