“PVA has changed my life by introducing me to things that I believed to be over when I became injured, such as the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and showing me that you can still live a fulfilling life although you have sustained a catastrophic injury.”

Robert Thomas grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and played football and basketball. He enlisted in the U.S. Army shortly after graduating high school in 1987. Thomas served as a power generation equipment specialist at Fort Sill, Oklahoma; Camp Humphreys, South Korea; and Fort Bragg, NC.

While on active duty, in 1991, Thomas had a diving accident that severed his fifth and sixth vertebrae. He was introduced to PVA through the Cleveland VA Medical Center. PVA helped him navigate his new life by working to obtain his earned benefits through the VA, and reintegrating him back into society through social outings with the recreational therapist.

Thomas joined PVA in 1992 as a member of the Buckeye Chapter of PVA in Ohio, and a little while later, began volunteering with the chapter. He took some time off to earn his associate degree in Information Technology, and returned to the Buckeye Chapter of PVA board in 2010. He served as the chapter’s vice president from 2012-2015, and as the chapter’s representative on the national Field Advisory Committee and the Resolution Committee.

Thomas was elected as President of PVA May 2023 during the organization’s 77th Annual Convention, to begin a new, one-year term on July 1, 2023. He initially joined PVA leadership at the national level in 2015 as the parliamentarian, and was elected to serve on the Executive Committee in 2017. Thomas continues to serve PVA because he wants to help lead the organization well into the future.

“My inspiration to serve stems from PVA’s past and present leadership,” Thomas says. “Being a member for 30 years and seeing how unselfishly each leader, member, employee, and volunteer gives of themselves makes me want to continue to serve an organization that does so much for veterans and the disabled community.”

In addition to serving as President of PVA, Thomas currently serves as the chair of PVA’s Education Foundation. He was also appointed to the VA’S Family Caregiver and Survivors advisory committee.

Thomas and his wife, LaShon, live in Macedonia, Ohio. Thomas enjoys reading, watching sports, and playing adaptive sports like power soccer, bowling, air guns, and scuba diving.

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