PVA From The Top – A Team Approach

Remembering advice from a past presidents about staying grounded

By Robert L. Thomas Jr.

It’s hard to believe that last month, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) hosted its 78th Annual Convention in Minneapolis. 

This means it has been a year since I was elected to the position of PVA national president. I joined this organization in 1992, and ever since then, I have been trying to be more than just a member.

I began volunteering with the PVA Buckeye Chapter, where I was eventually voted to the board of directors as an alternate member. Who would have believed back then that I would become the national president of such an organization?

Over the past year, I have represented PVA to the best of my abilities and ensured that we are seen in a good light by all the other service organizations and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

I remember reading a PVA From The Top column in PN by then-PVA National President Al Kovach Jr., who stated (and I paraphrase) writing articles in this section didn’t make him feel as though he’s on the top, and anyone who becomes the national president should always try and stay humble and do not believe that you are above anyone else.

I remember what Al wrote, and I have been trying to stay well-grounded and keep in mind that no one individual can do it alone. It is all about the team and our mission.

For most of fiscal year 2024, the PVA Executive Committee was down one team member, but that didn’t hinder us from working hard at trying to accomplish our mission. We worked collaboratively to begin the process of establishing a chapter in the New York area, along with assisting each other with chapter issues when needed.

We’ve worked closely with each and every department inside PVA to keep the focus on our members and their needs.

By the time this article is published, we will know who the PVA national president and executive committee members are for fiscal year 2025. If I’m reelected, I will continue to use the team approach to solving problems and finding new ways to move the organization forward. I will continue to work on ensuring that those who take care of us are taken care of, too.

As legendary Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson said, “The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.”

We know one person can make a difference, but the results are immeasurable when you work together.

Thank you to everyone who is a part of Team PVA.

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