A Call to Share

Reprinted from PN October 2012

PVA needs to share its many success stories.

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I’d like to share a “conversation starter” I often use when traveling across our great nation and meeting people for the first time.

I tell them, “I believe I have the best job in the world!” In truth, I wake up every day knowing that somewhere, someone from the Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) team is working hard to change a life in a positive way by building brighter futures for veterans and their families.

The response to this “conversation starter” is often a story about how PVA came to their aid and helped them, a family member or a friend.

More often than not, someone will say the magical words, “I don’t know how to thank you. PVA helped me get everything I need to successfully get my life back.” Whether it’s the Operation Iraqi Freedom Marine or the Army Vietnam veteran, these stories will often make you laugh and cry simultaneously.

Together, we relive the smiles and tears of overcoming adversity with the telling of the stories and knowing PVA helped by rescuing the homeless, providing the tools to become successful in a good competitive career or by solving accessibility problems that limited lifestyles of our nation’s veterans.

If I had a dollar for every great success story I’ve heard over the years about the good work PVA has done, I could probably fund the organization for the next six decades!

But here’s where the contradiction begins:  We know we are great at delivering results. We have an outstanding track record. We hear great feedback from those we help, but unfortunately we are reluctant to share these success stories or encourage those to whom good things have come due to the efforts of PVA to share them.

Perhaps it’s due to modesty or an effort to preserve the personal privacy of others. However, there comes a time to set modesty aside, especially in these competitive times where we must fight hard for every dollar we raise to sustain our “outstanding track record” of help to veterans and their families.

What would be the right time and where would be the right place to share these positive experiences or happy endings? As an example, perhaps you don’t know much about PVA, but you have heard some good things and you have thought you’d like to make a donation.

The first thing you would probably do is go to our website, That’s a great place to start, with an excellent showcase of what we do, and you begin to appreciate what you see but want an “independent” view.

So, you might go to one of the many charity ratings services out there right now. Often what has most clout on their websites is what the public has said voluntarily in the online comments section. Unfortunately, one bad comment, even though it may be wrong, human nature being what it is, instantly makes you less likely to make a donation or to support PVA.

So, this is not so much a call to action but rather a call to share —  share the success stories; the stories of PVA changing lives and building better futures as our tagline says. Here’s what I suggest:


-          Think about the stories of how PVA has helped you, your family and your friends.

-          Reach out to places such as the Better Business Bureau, Charity Navigator, Charity Watch and Guidestar and enter a comment next to PVA.

-          Make telling the success stories, and encouraging others to tell their story, part of your mission of support for PVA. Indeed, to advance the collection of stories, we have created a special email address. So please tell us how PVA has helped you in one paragraph at


Thanks for your service and for sharing.

And as usual, I will close by reminding you to take a moment out of your life to visit a hospitalized veteran today. 


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A Call to Share


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