PVA From The Top: The Gift of Giving

Consider giving a donation to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) during the Christmas season

By David Zurfluh

Giving money to Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) during the Christmas season is a wonderful gift. And I do it, as well, to help support the programs that serve paralyzed veterans.

But not everyone has the means to give because of their finances, family obligations and buying presents for family and friends. 

However, there’s one gift you can give. It’s worth just as much, or perhaps even more, and will cost you very little financially — it’s your time spent in a local veterans’ home, with a veteran who’s stuck in a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spinal-cord injury (SCI) center or with a veteran in your area who’s living alone.

Doing some quasi-research, I found out doctors and hospital staff do their best to get veterans home or to a loved one’s house for the holidays, but because of the veteran’s medical situation or lack of family support, not all can make it out of a VA SCI center or veterans’ home to celebrate. VA SCI centers’ bed counts drop to around 30% to 40%, on average, during Christmas, but that number is higher for veterans’ homes.

For many years, I’ve participated in the VA Puget Sound Health Care System’s catered Christmas dinner in Seattle, which is put on by the PVA Northwest Chapter for veterans, their family, friends and unit staff. Afterward, gift bags full of food, reading material and other goodies are distributed. I often try to visit a few more times on days before and after the dinner.

I spent Christmas away from home many times in the military, but I usually had other military members and their family and friends to share dinner or time. I can only imagine being stuck in a hospital or veterans’ home, not having experienced it myself
during Christmas.

I do know the times I’ve gone to VA hospitals and visited were appreciated by the veterans there, and the heartfelt joy I experienced by sharing time with those veterans was priceless. Hearing the memories from and bonding with a veteran is something all of you reading this article should do.

I challenge all of you reading this article to share it with family and friends, then look at your December calendar and pick a date to visit a veteran during the holiday season, whether he or she is in an VA SCI unit, veterans’ home or living alone in your community.

If you can give a financial gift to PVA and visit a veteran, thank you, but if your finances prevent you from making a financial gift, please visit a veteran this Christmas season and create a memory, bond and make his or her day. It will warm your heart and soul this December.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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