From The Top – Be An Advocate

You can truly make a difference

By David Zurfluh

 

I’ve shared examples with you in the past on the importance of advocating for paralyzed veterans, and I suggest that this March — and this year — might be the most important time ever to be a Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) advocate.

I think the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, lockdowns and riots in the nation’s capital and across the country have given political leaders the opportunity to forget about us. We need to remind them through advocacy at all levels that we exist and that they have the ability to improve the lives of paralyzed veterans through legislation. 

While COVID-19, impeachment and riots may be important issues, veteran topics should be foremost in legislative priorities. If it wasn’t for the sacrifice and selfless service of our veterans and current servicemen and servicewomen, the very freedom to deal with issues such as COVID-19, impeachment, quelling violent riots and today’s other trending issues wouldn’t be possible. 

It’s more imperative now than ever to remind our political leaders on both sides of the aisle of paralyzed veterans’ pressing needs to live more accessible, productive and healthy lives and how they can advocate for us.

Whether you work as an individual or as part of a group to advocate within your own circle of influence, or at the community, state or national level, know that you can truly make a difference.

If you have ideas or need ideas as far as how you can best help, be sure to contact your local PVA chapter or contact PVA’s national Government Relations Department (GVRD).

The PVA GVRD is a knowledgeable, talented group of people who dedicate their time and efforts to know the pulse of veterans’ issues in Washington, D.C., inside the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and throughout the country.

Every year, the GVRD leads efforts to train a group of PVA chapter volunteers, who visit Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., in March and discuss veterans’ issues with congressional members. March 2021 will be the first time in my memory that we will not advocate on Capitol Hill in person, but will do so virtually. This might be the case both locally and nationally this year. 

If you’re unfamiliar with or intimidated by video conferencing technology, don’t be.  We were all raw in basic training, but through dogged determination and dedication found a way to persevere. Do the same thing to learn this technology and seek help at the local chapter, national level or even through YouTube how-to videos.

After your injuries and diagnosis, many of you had help from the VA, PVA and other veterans. You also had a desire and a fire in your belly to give back. Use that fire now to be proactive and write emails, letters and use online platforms to be a PVA advocate.

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