Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Tanya Lukowiak

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Tanya Lukowiak is our Amazing Woman this week. She was born at West Point, in what is now the Admissions building. At the time, it was a hospital and her dad, who was in the Air Force, was stationed there.

She grew up in the area, and had a great high school career, but when she started talking about going to West Point, she was told not to waste the stamp for her application.

She was not deterred. She got in. That was 1982 and women were still rare on campus and many didn't approve of her being there. But she said if you work hard, and show you are competent , you can usually gain your critics respect.

She was worried in Jungle Training, that she couldn't keep up with the stronger men. But she was so tiny, they were able to toss her over a mountain and on to a rope bridge, then  she could help the others get up. She found that by using her own talent and abilities she could be very helpful.

After graduating from West Point, she served in Germany where she was an artillery field officer. She says that was on of the happiest times of her life.

After military service, she went to work for the city of Newark, New Jersey. And there she met her husband. They got married and joined families, and now between them have 4 children. Tanya's daughter followed in her mother's footsteps, and is a Civil Engineer.

When Tanya's father moved to Anna Maria Island, Tanya and her husband decided to follow. They too were tired of the cold weather.

Tanya is now Executive Director of the Sarasota Community Housing Trust. Helping Sarasota develop affordable housing that will continue into the future.