“Speedy,” Paralyzed Veterans of America’s original logo, was born in 1946 at the Birmingham VA hospital in Van Nuys, California. Wilbur Hyde, the chapter’s secretary, asked his friend Wilder A. Johnson – a patient at the hospital who was a cartoonist – to design a logo for the newly-formed organization. Johnson easily found his inspiration in U.S. Army veteran Dick Sloviaczek, a Long Beach patient known for zipping through the halls in his chair, a trail of smoke from his pipe following him.
Of the logo, Johnson said:
“There is a good deal of worthwhile philosophy to be observed in the little man if one will take the time to study him carefully. First, he is happy. He is not sitting around and crying the blues about being in a wheelchair. Second, he’s got places to go and he’s in a hurry. You better get out of this guy’s way or he’ll run right over you. Third, and most important, you don’t feel sorry for him. On the contrary — you can’t help admiring his spunk. He’s symbolic of happiness, energy, drive, admiration and guts, and those are respected qualities in the paraplegic way of life.”
In 2013, “Speedy” was retired as a logo, but his mission and inspiration live on in the determination and optimism of our members; our focus on a brighter and more independent future for paralyzed veterans, their families, and caregivers; and in our tireless advocacy for equal access for all people with disabilities.
Buy Historic Memorabilia
Check out our historic memorabilia, including shirts, hats, keychains, mousepads, decals and more.
From the Archives
Dive into the rich history of our iconic ‘Speedy’ and his transformation overtime with the below publications from the PVA archives, courtesy of PN Magazine.
- The Little Man in the Flying Chair – Paraplegia News, July 1955
- The History of “Speedy” – by Wilder A. Johnson, Jr., PVA Annual Report, 1978
- Changing of the Guard – by Andy Newmann, PN Magazine, December 2013
- Reasons & Remarks: Saluting Speedy – by Tom Fjerstad, PN Magazine, April 2020
Current PVA Assets
To view and download the current pva logo, zoom background, and photos, visit our Digital Assets page.