Your life experiences as a member of PVA will no doubt open countless opportunities within your own organization
By Tom Fjerstad
‘Tis the season of giving. The practice of giving takes on as many possible forms as one can imagine.
Probably the most visually recognizable example of giving is the box wrapped in the pretty paper with a bow. There’s also the charitable contribution to an organization that pursues a cause you support. Another way to give is through your time and talents to help support a cause that’s near and dear to you.
These forms are commonly recognized as the three T’s of giving: time, talent and treasure. Virtually everyone is capable of giving in at least one of these forms.
Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) and its chapters have been blessed to receive the support of their members in all of these ways. I believe this a testament to the work performed by PVA that benefits you each and every day. After all, you are PVA.
If you’ve reached a point in your life where you’re looking to find a more meaningful purpose to the holiday season than things that sparkle and shine wrapped in boxes with ribbons and bows, then maybe you should think of using your time and talents to help the very organization that has done so much to make your life better.
A list of PVA’s chapters and their contact information can be found on page 9. Don’t be shy. I know for certain this is one of those times when your only regret will be why you didn’t do this sooner.
If you’re PVA member, I already know a few things about you. You’re a veteran; you have either a spinal-cord injury (SCI) or spinal-cord dysfunction; you probably receive some or all of your health care at a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spinal-cord injury center; you receive PN magazine in the mail or digitally every month.
So, if you’re wondering what PVA has ever really done for you, let me give you a few examples.
If you receive care at a VA SCI center, thank PVA. PVA has been your advocate for maintaining and improving the quality of care delivered at these facilities since the very beginning of the SCI system of care during World War II.
Do you like wheelchair sports? PVA and those same veterans who returned from war with SCI created wheelchair basketball, which is generally acknowledged as the very beginning of organized wheelchair sports. If you’re more into watching sports and you go to a stadium or arena to catch your favorite team, chances are PVA either directly or indirectly had an impact on the wheelchair accessibility of that facility.
PVA’s membership is aging. More than half of all PVA members are now in the 55- to 74-year-old age group. You can say, ‘Wow, we need to recruit younger members,’ which is true, but you could also look at it as a vast pool of experience and talent. If that group decides to donate some of their time and talent, they could make a huge difference in an organization that has done so much for their quality of life.
Have you heard of Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE)? This organization is all about just that, matching retirees and their talents with volunteer opportunities. As a PVA member, you shouldn’t need help in matching yourself to a suitable organization.
Your life experiences as a member of PVA will no doubt open countless opportunities within your own organization. So, don’t think of yourself as having been put out to pasture.
This holiday season, consider the gift of your time and talent to give back to the organization that I’m certain has made a difference in your life. The gift of treasure wouldn’t be rejected either, but involving yourself in this great organization is a gift that’ll bear returns in ways you may not even imagine.
Have a happy and blessed holiday season.