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1984 Horatio Alger Award Winner

Leslie T. Welsh*

Leslie T. Welsh, Inc.

"If you shoot for the very top, you may not always achieve it, but you will end up much more successful than if you set your goals too low."

Leslie Welsh was born on an Illinois farm in 1922. During the Depression, he and his four brothers and sisters helped their parents avoid foreclosure on the family farm by working in the fields and barns. Welsh's mother died of appendicitis when he was nine years old. When he was 15, a piece of farm equipment so badly mangled his arm that it had to be amputated. Despite his handicap, Welsh was awarded All-State Honorable Mention as an offensive guard on the football team. He attended the University of Illinois, where he held a variety of jobs to help cover his costs. Upon graduation, he began working at Arthur Anderson & Co. He spent 20 years with the company and eventually became a partner. In 1963, Welsh purchased the then-bankrupt Boyt Harness Company in Iowa Falls, Iowa. He merged Welsh Sporting Goods with Boyt Harness. Other companies were added to this venture to form Studebaker-Worthington, Inc., of which Welsh became president. Soon after the sale, Welsh returned to his family business, which operated in various industries, including real estate and commercial farming. He dedicated time and money to various civic projects and created a free public pool in his hometown of Bradford, Illinois.

* Deceased