Reasons & Remarks Redivivus: Improving Life

Reprinted from PN/Paraplegia News April 2016

The electing of Paralyzed Veterans of America officials

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Improving Life

This edition of PN is a very important one. Each year, Paralyzed Veterans of America’s (PVA) Board of Directors (BOD) elects the officers to run the organization for the forthcoming year.

This issue features a brief campaign message from candidates running for national office. For those of you not familiar with the structure of the national office, PVA has a president, a senior vice president, four vice presidents, a secretary and a treasurer.  

The above mentioned officers, plus the immediate past president, make up the PVA Executive Committee which manages the organization. The national president also has the responsibility of being chairman of the board of directors during meetings of the PVA BOD and also functions as the chief executive officer of the organization.

You don’t have to put your name and message in PN to run for office. You can run from the floor of the meeting if a director nominates you. If this process is used, you have the same rights and privileges to speak before the body as any other person running for office.

Every PVA chapter sends a director to the meetings of the PVA BOD. Many of you at the chapter level may think that you have no input on PVA’s national officers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

At your chapter meetings, you elect who is going to be the national director from your chapter. If there’s something specific you would like to have brought to the attention of the PVA leadership or to change the way things operate, you can do so by bringing it to the attention of your national director.

This is no assurance that what you want will happen, but it may assure that what you’re concerned about can be discussed. This process is how things have made our organization better since it was formed. Our organization is a grassroots organization from that standpoint.  

National directors submit resolutions, which are put in proper form and placed in a BOD book, either hard copy or electronic, and these resolutions are discussed and voted on during the BOD meeting. We have used this type of process since our creation in 1947. 

Speaking on the issue of resolutions, I mentioned above that PVA was created in 1947. At that meeting, there were four resolutions which were submitted, voted on, and passed. Two of the four dealt with research. Of those two, one dealt with finding ways to travel and one dealt with looking into medical means to improve aid to paralyzed veterans.

Since that time, PVA has continued to dedicate significant amounts of money to research. The work in this area diversified to the point that it needed to be broken down into two areas. One program is focused on funding educational projects that benefit and serve individuals with spinal-cord injury or disease (SCI/D), their families and caregivers. Applicants submit these proposals to the PVA Education Foundation, which funds grants on an annual basis.  

The sister program is the PVA Research Foundation. The research foundation trustees meet annually to review applications that are grounded in basic laboratory science, the education of scientists working on breakthroughs directed toward a cure for paralysis or the secondary medical conditions, and technologies associated with SCI/D. 

Since 1980, treatments for SCI/D complications have also been studied by the PVA-endowed Professor in (SCI/D) Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in California. And on the East Coast, PVA has established the Center for Neuroscience and Regeneration Research at Yale University, which is recognized worldwide as one of the finest research centers that exists.

You can see that PVA’s Executive Committee has the responsibility to manage some sophisticated programs. I’ve touched on only one field, which is one of the oldest. Life for people who are paralyzed has been made much easier by the work PVA does. The next time you get on an airplane or go into a store, think about the work PVA continues to do to improve your life.

We can all be thankful that our founders in 1947 had the foresight to establish a great organization.   


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