PVA From The Top – Promoting PVA

Ramping up efforts to educate during PVA Awareness Month

By Robert L. Thomas Jr.

This month is Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) Awareness Month. April is the time when all 33 PVA chapters get out in their local communities and try to educate the public about what PVA does.

We advocate through various means. I can remember my first experience participating in PVA Awareness Month, but back then, it was PVA Awareness Week. At the time, we would travel throughout the week to different locations, sitting in the middle of the mall or wherever we thought would get enough foot traffic. However, people just walked past us staring and wondering what a group of individuals in wheelchairs was doing.

The looks we received were very disheartening, and people just continued to walk on by even after reading the banner draped across the table. One time, a couple finally stopped and asked who or what was PVA? As I began to explain to them who PVA was and what it is that we do, it really made me understand why PVA awareness is so important.

Although the days of sitting in the mall have long since gone by the wayside, over the years, PVA and its chapters have found ways to constantly educate the public about what PVA is working on.

Goodness, how things have reformed. We’ve gone from public service announcements, radio, PN and TV to seeing an ad pop up on our screens while browsing the internet or looking at our favorite social media site.

PVA has large campaigns, such as Just Plane Wrong (, that educate the public on what individuals in wheelchairs go through while flying and why everyone should be aware.

This is just one of the ways PVA is working constantly to get our name into each and every household throughout the country. This is a tough job, but with everyone’s participation, we can get it accomplished.

I would ask each of you, what are you going to do to promote PVA awareness this month? If you’re uncertain about all the things the organization is doing, just tell your personal experience of how PVA helped you in your darkest hour.

PVA has been there and will continue 
to advocate for those with spinal-cord injuries, multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic 
lateral sclerosis, along with the broader
disability community.

It’s about time we get our name out 
there to let people know the important work we’re doing.

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