PVA From The Top – Harvest Season

It’s time to break out the sweaters, enjoy a warm mug of apple cider, and take in the beauty of the fall foliage

By Robert L Thomas Jr.

As I sit here staring out the window and watching the leaves begin to change colors, it’s a reminder that fall is here, which means it’s harvest season. 

Harvest season usually starts at the end of September and lasts until the beginning of December. This is the time when farmers begin to pick the crops they have planted earlier in the year, providing their families with food that should last them throughout the winter months. Many farmers take these crops to the market to be sold to provide food for families across the country.

Now, you may ask, “How does this relate to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA)?” Well, if you really sit back and think about it, PVA is just like the farmer throughout the year. We lay seeds through our advocacy, programs, medical services team, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and in Congress to hopefully get bills passed that will help the disability community. 

We also push to get new and improved technology/devices that will assist clinicians in taking care of the men and women at the spinal-cord injury and disease (SCI/D) centers within the VA health care system.

Just like the farmer, we watch those seeds become a sprout, and the sprout becomes a plant that will grow into what is needed for sustainability. This month, we hold our Fall Board of Directors meeting, which can be looked at as the equivalent to the farmer taking his crops and selling them.

However, here at PVA, it’s the first quarter of the fiscal year. During this time, we update the directors on the progress we’ve made through our advocacy, programs and committee efforts, keeping in mind that some seeds don’t grow as fast as others. Some just need more nurturing.

So far this year, we’ve had some great accomplishments come out of the seeds we’ve planted, including on April 17 when U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to provide more support for caregivers.

In addition, on July 26 on the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Department of Transportation released a final rule that requires newly built single-aisle airplanes to have an accessible lavatory starting in 2033. 

These are just two examples of how continued nourishment of seeds planted can grow and have a significant impact. PVA works in numerous areas to assist men and women veterans with SCI/D, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Our seeds are planted, and we do our best to water and nourish them so they can become valuable resources for us. 

Just as the farmer tills his fields and awaits the next planting season, we’re already looking at what seeds to plant to continue helping veterans and the entire disability community.

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