The Portland Chronicles

Reprinted from PN November 2008

The week was filled with major issues to discuss, determination to resolve them—and a few surprises on officer-election day.

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"We are delighted to be in one of the most beautiful parts of our great nation for our Annual Convention," PVA President Randy L. Pleva Sr. said about the location of this year's meeting.

The Oregon PVA Chapter's hospitality was outstanding as national directors, delegates, and staff arrived at the Doubletree Hotel Portland Lloyd Center on August 17 for the Paralyzed Veterans of America's (PVA's) 62nd Annual Convention in Portland. The convention is PVA's major business meeting; more than 100 attendees represented PVA's 34 chapters.

On behalf of PVA, President Randy L. Pleva Sr. (left) accepts a chapter donation for the PVA Research Foundation from Charles Karczewski, Northwest PVA. All of PVA's chapters are generous supporters of care and cure organizations whose efforts improve the lives of our nation's SCI veterans.

Highlights of the Welcome Reception included roses for the ladies, great music, food, and bags of goodies from Oregon PVA. Despite attendees' best efforts to get the "Oregon Duck" mascot to talk that evening, no one succeeded. The duck did, however, give out gifts as members tried to engage it in conversation. They left with sporting pennants, foam radio antenna balls, and other valuable items from the duck, but not a quack of language. The evening was a wonderful beginning to convention week.

Down to Business

The official business began the next day with the presentation of the chapter flags and the posting of the colors. Members of Boy Scout Troop 432 (Lakegrove Presbyterian Church, Lake Oswego, Ore.) and the 234th Army Band Woodwind Quintet did a great job of starting the official meeting. We are always grateful for the support the community groups provide in the opening ceremonies. Particularly memorable was the participation of PVA Past National President David Parker's grandson, Chris Parker, as one of the scouts. The 17-year-old is working toward becoming an Eagle Scout, which would make three generations of Eagle Scouts in the Parker family.

The meeting was marked by the absence of PVA Past National President Carlos Rodriguez. He has been a regular attendee since his term as president began in 1970. His health prevented his attendance, and I believe this is the first convention he has missed. We wish him well.

One of the opening session's most solemn moments is the video listing of the members who have left us during the past year. As their names are scrolled through, by chapter, we are reminded of so many fine men and women who have passed on. Their contributions to our organization are a reminder of their service and our duty to continue that effort.

President Pleva recognized the great performance of two PVA chapters that received The John M. Price Award: Cal-Diego, for Most Outstanding Chapter; and Texas, for Most Improved Chapter. Competition for this recognition is always intense, and these chapters are to be commended for their outstanding work through the past year. Awards also were given to the convention's host chapter, Oregon, which was accepted by Past National President Parker; Buckeye PVA (Membership Development); and North Central (Chapter Volunteer Service). Buckeye had a 14% increase, the largest percentage of any chapter over the last year. Larry Folkerts accepted North Central's award for the most per-capita volunteer hours.

Read more about important issued discussed and resoutions passed, and find out about the newly-elected PVA officers.


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