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Reprinted from PN December 2016

Paralyzed Veterans of America's annual Mission: ABLE Awards

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“I am able.” That was the dominating phrase at this year’s Paralyzed Veterans of America Mission: ABLE Awards.

An annual tradition, the Mission: ABLE Awards honor exceptional individuals and organizations who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and painstakingly worked to create an America where veterans are able to access everything they need to live full and rewarding lives. 

Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) welcomed approximately 425 guests to the Sept. 21 event at the Ritz Carlton in Washington, D.C., including Washington dignitaries, distinguished service members, veterans, friends and supporters. The “Voice of the Washington Redskins” Larry Michael and Robert Molinatti served as co-emcees, and Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, Director, Defense Health Agency, delivered the keynote address.


Vice Admiral Raquel C. Bono, Medical Corps, U.S. Navy, Director, Defense Health Agency, was the keynote speaker. Photo PVA Staff.

“What Paralyzed Veterans of America does with advocacy and research is powerful for our health care system for those who wear the uniform,” Bono said.

Bono was also on hand to see PVA’s latest powerful effort to help veterans.

I Am Able

The vice admiral and those in attendance saw the unveiling of the first public service announcement (PSA) in PVA’s new “I Am Able” campaign.

Officially launching next spring, the campaign focuses on the message that paralyzed veterans are able to fully and equally participate and contribute to society. The PSAs celebrate and depict stories of paralyzed veterans.

The inaugural PSA previewed at the event was called “I Am Able: To Make Dinner For My Wife.” Others focus on having career and dancing with a daughter at her wedding. The idea of the campaign and PSAs is to break down stereotypes and misconceptions about paralyzed veterans’ capabilities.  

Spearheaded by PVA Senior Director of Corporate and Venture Philanthropy Mindy Walker, the PSAs will be shared on the Mission: ABLE website (mission-able.com) when they’re launched, as well as distributed to TV and radio stations across the country. 

The Roof Of Africa

Another PSA in the “I Am Able” campaign will feature a PVA member who was recognized at the awards for his recent “mountain-sized” accomplishment.

Carlos Moleda was honored only days after summiting Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. To be featured in the PSA called “I Am Able: To Climb Mount Kilimanjaro,” Moleda conquered the more-than 19,000-foot mountain on a custom-built handcycle 
he made.

Reaching the top of one of the highest mountains in the world is just the latest accomplishment for the Navy veteran. Moleda won his fifth Ironman world championship in October 2015 at age 53 and has won numerous handcycling titles as part of the PVA Racing Team.


 

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