I have a deep appreciation for a well-crafted motion and the beauty of it being processed by the chairman to an ultimate decision
July 1 is the beginning of a new fiscal year for Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). While PVA’s 76th Annual Convention took place in Atlanta May 17–21, I, unfortunately, was unable to attend in person. But thanks to technology, I was able to participate using Zoom video conferencing.
Zoom is great, but it can’t replace being in person at a meeting like this. Much of the business conducted during the convention is actually more thoroughly debated in the hallway during breaks or around the evening dinner table. More than that, it’s a chance to catch up with old friends and meet the new people who are taking time from their personal lives to support PVA’s mission.
One of my favorite parts of a PVA convention is the consideration of resolutions. Being a Professional Registered Parliamentarian, I have a deep appreciation for a well-crafted motion and the beauty of it being processed by the chairman to an ultimate decision. Unfortunately, I had a doctor’s appointment the morning the resolutions were considered this year, but I did receive the final disposition of each.
You’ll find a list of the ones that passed in Looking Forward on page 38. This convention was a wrap-up of the organization’s 75th anniversary. With that in mind, I’d like to touch on some of the resolutions the board of directors has passed over the last 75 years.
These are by no means the most important decisions made. They are just a glimpse into the past to illustrate a couple of issues PVA dealt with over the years. PVA first met to form the organization you know today in Chicago in February 1947.
At that meeting, four resolutions were passed that have had a lasting impact. One resolution passed to expand the eligibility for an automobile grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to include our members, primarily quadriplegics, who, at the time, were unable to drive themselves and were therefore excluded from receiving this life-changing benefit to help free them from the hospital confines.
Next was a resolution to address the lack of accessible housing. Then came a resolution requiring the chapters of this newly formed organization to invest in research for a cure for spinal-cord injury and disease and work toward that goal in a coordinated effort. Last, but not least, was to adopt Paraplegia News (now PN) as an official organ of PVA.
PVA held its 1948 convention in Memphis, Tenn., and two decisions made there jumped out at me. The first was the establishment of a uniform set of rules for wheelchair basketball. The other one was to eliminate real estate taxes for paraplegics in all 50 states. That last one is something we should still be working toward.
The 1955 convention was in New York. Topping the list of the 30 resolutions approved was “that it be resolved that paraplegia be a separate service in the VA and that a separate department of paraplegia be organized on the Washington level.”
One that gave me a chuckle, but was unquestionably important at the time, was passed at the 1972 convention in Miami Beach, Fla.
“Resolution 72-C-6: THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the PVA recommends inclusion of air conditioning and power windows as items issuable under the automobile adaptive equipment regulation.”
I don’t think any car manufacturers today even offer vehicles without power windows and A/C. PVA was obviously successful in this endeavor, and today these items are still maintained at VA expense for veterans who qualify.
The 1973 convention in San Francisco saw the passing of resolution 73-O-13, submitted by the PVA Vaughan Chapter, which has become a yearly tradition. To this day, it’s the final piece of business conducted at our annual gathering:
“THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, to publish in the PN a display of thanks to all the ladies for their support and help in making the program such a high success.”
The verbiage has changed a little and the motion now clearly assigns this task to the editor of PN, but I’m not about to break tradition. Thank you to whomever it was at the Vaughan Chapter in 1973 for coming up with this one. If I had to pick a most important resolution ever passed by PVA, this would be right up there.