PVA From The Top – PVA Awareness

Discussing PVA Awareness Month

By Charles Brown

For many, April typically starts out with some good fun on April Fool’s Day. After all, who doesn’t like a little humor in life?

By the middle of the month, the majority of Americans may be stressed because of filing taxes and paying bills. If you celebrate Easter or Passover, this is a special and significant month. Earth Day follows, reminding us how critical it is for all of us to take care of our planet.

April is typically a month of uncertain weather. We seem to never know what to expect. One day you’ll be enjoying the warm and sunny outdoors and a couple days later, you could be battening down the hatches to prevent damage from heavy storms, snow or freezing rain.

For Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), April is an opportunity to have a broader impact on the lives of veterans with a spinal-cord injury or disease and let the nation know about this great organization. April is PVA Awareness Month, when all 33 PVA chapters and the national office reach out to help veterans with these catastrophic injuries and diseases.

There’s a huge push to bring our programs and benefits to the media forefront and to help veterans and their families in need. I remember in the early days of my injury, during what was then PVA Awareness Week, chapters would hold events to educate their local community. Roughly 11 years ago, then-PVA National President Bill Lawson said we needed to make it a full month.

Bill said PVA is an organization that has many great things, and that we needed to broaden our approach and bring our message to more people. The organization does so much for veterans with catastrophic disabilities that we can’t keep it a secret. We must let more people know that we can help them.

In fact, I remember Bill making a whirlwind tour that April, traveling across the nation to spend a day or two at each chapter or with members in different regions. Bill took our communications director with him and really put him to work, and it was successful.

I was recently introduced to two veterans who heard Bill’s comments on the radio and called PVA asking for help. I know for a fact that if we push through April, we can bring our a message to more veterans in need.

Current PVA Director of Communications Liz Deakin and her team have really put a lot of planning into implementing a successful 2022 PVA Awareness Month. So, keep an eye out!

PVA has been a leader in health care, benefits and accessibility across many areas for 75 years, from addressing the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and federal government to help make the hospitals more accessible to fighting for help in getting veterans back into their own homes.

PVA has been and still is the leader in striving to make air travel safer and more accessible. We’re also leaders in accessibility nationwide and still work on improving the Americans with Disabilities Act. Our architecture department assists the VA, government agencies and personal individuals with accessible design and has published several books for public use as guides for accessible design.

If you’re a veteran with a disability, our national service officers are some of the most highly trained benefits specialists and are known to help with difficult and complex benefits cases. PVA is often called for help with these issues, and the organization believes no veteran should be underserved.

PVA has many programs that help veterans improve their quality of life. Because most of these programs are open to the public, PVA also helps improve quality of life for other individuals with disabilities. I encourage you to be an advocate and consider how you can bring awareness and assist someone in need. As each PVA chapter reaches out, consider helping by getting information out to your local community and friends.

Believe it or not, you can be a champion in someone’s life and improve his or her quality of life by just introducing that person to one of PVA’s beneficial programs.

While April is PVA Awareness Month, PVA is here for you all the time, all year long.

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