Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News April 2014

Remembering the life and accomplishments of the late PVA Vice President David Fowler.

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I always hate to have to write a eulogy, an epithet or dedicate a part of my editorial to a member who has passed away. The first problem I run into is what standards do I use that merit writing about someone in a magazine which has a circulation of approximately 30,000.

Doing so is a tough hurdle to jump, and I struggle making a decision on who has jumped it. After writing several and doing this job for many years, I’ve found there is no list from one to 10 that is filled out when deciding on whom to write or speak. It’s one of those things that just feels like the right thing to do.

PVA friends Larry Dodson (from left), Tom Wheaton, David Fowler and Charles Brown share a visit to the White House, October 2012.

Writing about David Fowler feels like the right thing to do. I didn’t know David personally. But serving Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) in six of its eight senior positions has given me the ability to find if a person has that indescribable “thing” which sets them apart from their peers by listening to how people speak, what they speak about and how they carry themselves when not speaking. David had that “thing”.

I have always had tremendous admiration for quadriplegics who serve on PVA’s Executive Committee. Serving on the committee would be a tough job for an able-bodied person and is rough for a paraplegic. But the demand it places on quadriplegics, with their physical limitations, has to be really hard. I had indescribable admiration for Cliff Crase, my predecessor in this position, as I watched him struggle with some of the rough challenges he faced.

I could go over David’s numerous awards, committees, accomplishments and such things, which have already been done. But I simply want to honor David by thanking him for the good things he did, and the courage he exhibited by showing that physical limitations shouldn’t prevent people from using the “thing” that sets them apart. They instead should emulate his strength and learn from his example.

David overcame his quadriplegia as he experienced the challenges it presented. He was running for the position of National President of PVA when at the young age of 53, he had medical complications he couldn’t beat. We are less by losing him. I don’t know how the national election would have turned out had he lived, and I have no political position in my job. I do know that regardless of how the election had turned out, the “thing” would have kept him going to help others as his history had shown.

So, David, may, “The Lord bless you and keep you; may He make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you; may He lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.”


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