Paralyzed Veterans of America’s National President shares his resolutions for the coming year
By David Zurfluh
As the impeachment stories on both sides of the aisle dominate the headlines this year and New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, quit smoking, drinking, etc., permeate people’s minds, I want to refer to the headline and ask what is your Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) resolution?
You may or may not have any to ponder, but if you’re stuck, let me propose some for you to consider.
Volunteer more or for the first time through a PVA chapter near you. Let them know your interest and how you want to help, or find out how you can help with areas such as sports, advocacy, social media, article writing, etc.
Be an advocate. Again, find a chapter near you to seek guidance and resources, but afterwards you can follow your passion and advocate on issues at the local, city, county, state or national levels. Issues could be accessibility, education, employment, sports or veteran related.
I volunteered years ago for a group called the Veterans Legislative Coalition (VLC) representing the PVA Northwest Chapter. The VLC had representatives from all the veterans service organizations in Washington. We volunteered two to three months while the House was in session, advocating for veterans’ bills and issues.
If you’ve done advocacy in the recent past or intend to this year, make a resolution to write about your experiences. Share your experience through chapter newsletters, websites, blogs or social media pages. Write to PN magazine, as well.
In March, PVA has advocates storming Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., to push for bills and issues enhancing the lives of PVA members and all veterans. Make a resolution to be a part of it through your local chapter this year or next. At the very least, make a resolution to learn more about it.
Volunteer at a spinal-cord injury unit as a chapter hospital liaison or a peer mentor. After my injury, I did this at the Seattle Department of Veterans Affairs hospital, where I rehabbed.
Make a resolution to travel somewhere this year, and when you do, write about your experience. Write about how accessible it was for people with disabilities or the cost, etc., in a chapter newsletter, website, blog or social media page. Maybe even suggest an article for PN magazine, as well.
Every year, I pull out five PVA resolutions from my office desk at home and vow to keep and honor them throughout the year. This year, those resolutions are:
1. Maintain an open-door policy.
2. Keep an open mind.
3. Be humble.
4. Never forget where I came from.
5. Leave PVA better off than when you started.
Will we struggle with our resolutions? Of course we will. That’s part of life. But hopefully you’ll find the determination and strength to make your resolutions become a reality.
As you watch the impeachment proceedings and the other Washington, D.C., politics going on this year, consider hitting the off button and making a PVA resolution or resolutions. I, and others, would love to read, see and hear about them when completed.
Happy New Year, everyone. May 2020 be healthy and wealthy for all of you!