Paralyzed Veterans of America will celebrate their 66th anniversary this April with Paralyzed Veterans Awareness Month. The veteran support organization explains that they will be marking their founding by “encouraging all Americans to take a stand and commit to helping veterans as part of their life’s mission.”
Paralyzed Veterans of America was founded by a group of service members who returned from World War II with spinal cord injuries. Although the group notes they returned to a grateful nation, they also faced many challenges in a world that was not yet prepared to accommodate their needs.
However, the organization explains that these initial founders made a conscious decision at that time “not just to live, but to live with dignity as contributors to society.” To do so, they founded this organization, which is dedicated to furthering veteran services, medical research, and civil rights for those with disabilities.
Today the group explains that they carry out the following to improve the lives of paralyzed veterans:
- Fight for quality VA health care and veterans benefits.
- Promote and provide wheelchair sports and recreational activities.
- Lead the charge to make America more accessible.
- Empower paralyzed veterans with the tools they need to secure good careers, at a time when the unemployment rate for veterans with severe disabilities is 85 percent.
- Invest in research to find new treatments and a cure for paralysis.
- Provide their services to all veterans and their families free of charge.
The theme of this year’s awareness campaign and celebration is “Building a Nation Fit for Heroes” and will highlight those unique challenges spinal cord injury veterans face. The organization notes that April’s celebration “spotlights the work of Paralyzed Veterans to empower seriously wounded heroes and their families with everything they need to thrive.”
Paralyzed Veterans’ national president, U.S. Army veteran Bill Lawson, urges all Americans to take a few moments this April to think about the challenges our paralyzed veterans face and come up with something good to do for those living in their local community. He explains that “Everyone can do something to change lives and build independent futures for those who have worn the uniform — from a school kid saying thanks to a paralyzed veteran who has just come home from Afghanistan to an employer hiring more veterans with disabilities.”
One of the events Lawson will be participating in this month is Mission: ABLE, which is a campaign that helps disabled veterans rebuild their lives with the “care, benefits and job services they need and deserve.” To locate Awareness Month events near you, you can find the activities list here.
Today Paralyzed Veterans of America has 34 chapters which represent thousands of veterans in every state, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.