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Reasons and Remarks - Meet The Editor

Reprinted from PN July 2017

PN magazine has been around for 71 years, and I have every intention to hold true to the vision of founding editor John M. Price.

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I owe you an explanation, or better yet, an introduction. My name is Tom, but if I’m fortunate enough to receive a letter to the editor from you referencing an article that you absolutely loved, or hated, please feel free to call me whatever may seem appropriate at the time.   

Now let’s answer the obvious questions; who am I and why am I writing the Reasons & Remarks column? In short, I’m the new editor for PVA Publications.

The slightly more extended story starts in my home state of Minnesota, where I joined the Navy out of high school and soon found myself flying in EP-3E aircraft as an electronic warfare operator out of Rota, Spain. After completing my first four years, I left active duty for the reserves and attended the University of Minnesota, pursuing a degree in linguistics. While back in Minnesota, I was offered a full-time, active duty position in recruiting for the Naval Reserve. It was during this time that I incurred a T2 spinal-cord injury in an automobile accident on my way home from the recruiting office. I came out of it better than my 1966 Porsche 911 and soon found myself part of a group forming a Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) chapter in Minnesota.

I served as the chapter’s first president beginning in 1992 and served on PVA’s national Board of Directors for 21 consecutive years. Four of those years were as a PVA national vice president and two as national senior vice president. I made an unsuccessful run for PVA national president in 2006, which ended my tenure on the executive committee. The silver lining to that was the support I had in my corner at the time. The support was that of PVA past national presidents Jack Michaels, Richard Johnson, Mike Delaney and Richard Hoover. I remember telling them that having their support meant more than winning the election.

During my time on PVA’s Executive Committee, I found myself engulfed in parliamentary law, eventually becoming certified as a Professional Registered Parliamentarian. That boils down to an interest in a tedious field which causes most sane people to scratch their heads and say, “Why bother?” During this 20-plus years with the organization, I had the opportunity to serve in many different capacities and learn from some of the greats in PVA.  

One of those is someone I consider a close friend and mentor in Richard Hoover. Richard served in almost every position imaginable in PVA. I hesitate to list them for fear of missing one, but here goes; Richard served as a member of the PVA Arizona Chapter Board of Directors, PVA National Board of Directors, national vice president, national senior vice president, national president, national treasurer, national executive director and as editor of PVA Publications for the last 10 years. Fast forward seven years to 2013, and I was approached by then-Editor Hoover, late PVA National Executive Director Homer Townsend Jr., and then-PVA National President Bill Lawson. They asked if I would consider moving from the frozen tundra of Minnesota to sunny Phoenix and accept a new position as deputy editor of the publications.

I accepted and officially started in April of 2014 and made the move to Phoenix that November. I have twin sons who were in their senior year of high school at the time, so needless to say, the move had its challenges. I would like to thank Richard and the staff at PVA Publications for their support and encouragement through what has been an incredibly steep learning curve. Thank you, former PVA National President Al Kovach Jr., for having the confidence to appoint me as the next editor, and a big thank you to the PVA Board of Directors for ratifying that appointment. 

PN magazine has been around for 71 years, and I have every intention to hold true to the vision of founding editor John M. Price. 

When the first issue of what was then called Paraplegia News rolled off the press at the Bronx (N.Y.) Department of Veterans Affairs Hospital in July 1946, Price said, “This paper is published with the earnest desire that it will become a sounding board for the expression of your ideas and suggestions for improving our mutual welfare.”

 

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Reasons and Remarks - Meet The Editor

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