Paralyzed Veterans of America Elects U.S. Army Veteran Robert Thomas as its New National President and Chair of the Board

Post Date: June 30, 2023
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 30, 2023) Paralyzed Veterans of America today announced that U.S. Army veteran and Cleveland native Robert Thomas, who previously served as PVA’s national senior vice president, will now hold its highest elected office – national president and chair of the board. Thomas was elected by PVA’s Board of Directors during the PVA Annual Convention. Thomas will begin his one-year term on July 1.

“There is nothing I wouldn’t do for PVA as they have saved my life countless times,” said Charles Brown, outgoing PVA national president. “Serving in this role for the last two years has been the biggest honor of my life. I gave my all, I put my body on the line, and I am a better man because of it. I welcome Robert as PVA’s new national president, and I give him my full pledge of support. PVA is in good hands with him, and I will remain at the ready anytime he (or PVA) needs me.”

A native of Cleveland, Thomas joined the U.S. Army shortly after graduating from high school in 1987 and became a power generation equipment specialist. While on active-duty Thomas had a diving accident that severed his fifth and sixth vertebrae. Introduced to PVA while undergoing rehabilitation at the Department of Veterans Affairs Cleveland Medical Center, Thomas joined PVA’s Buckeye Chapter a couple years later and quickly began volunteering.

Robert Thomas' official PVA portrait shows him in his power chair, wearing a suit, in front of an American flag and a PVA flag.


“Since my introduction to PVA more than 30 years ago, I have been in a continued state of amazement,” said Thomas. “Amazed at not only the impact PVA has on our nation’s veterans with spinal cord injuries and diseases, but also the difference PVA makes on their families and caregivers, and all the hard work PVA pours into our nation’s disability community. I am honored to work alongside our 33 PVA Chapters across the U.S., our national office, and all of our staff, volunteers, supporters, and donors in the days ahead. I also remain steadfast in my commitment to lead this organization, to listen to its members, to strategize on upcoming initiatives, and to help this organization continue to grow.”

Devoted to giving back to the organization that helped reintegrate him back into society following his accident, Thomas went on to serve in multiple PVA leadership positions both at the local and national levels. Among the positions he has held are PVA Buckeye Chapter’s vice president and representative of their national Field Advisory Committee and Resolution Committee, as well as national parliamentarian. Prior to his current role, Thomas served as PVA Executive Committee’s national vice president and senior national vice president. He also currently serves as chair of PVA’s Education Foundation and was appointed to VA’S Family Caregiver and Survivors Advisory Committee.

“PVA changed my life,” said Thomas. “They introduced me to things I thought were over after my injury and they showed me I could still live a fulfilling life. Today – some 32 years ago after my accident – I am more inspired to serve PVA than ever before. Being a member for so long and seeing firsthand how unselfishly each leader, employee, and volunteer gives of themselves, makes me want to continue to give back to the organization that does so much for our nation’s veterans and the disability community.”

Thomas will continue working closely with PVA’s other newly elected Executive Committee members for FY24, to include:

  • U.S. Marine Corps veteran Hack Albertson, national senior vice president
  • U.S. Air Force veteran Marcus Murray, national secretary
  • U.S. Navy veteran Tom Wheaton, national treasurer
  • U.S. Air Force veteran Josue Cordova, national vice president
  • U.S. Air Force veteran Tammy Jones, national vice president
  • U.S. Army veteran Anne Robinson, national vice president
  • U.S. Air Force veteran Ken Ness, national vice president

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Charles Brown will continue to serve as PVA’s immediate past president.


About Paralyzed Veterans of America
Paralyzed Veterans of America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and the only congressionally chartered Veterans Service Organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or diseases. The organization ensures veterans receive the benefits earned through service to our nation; monitors their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funds research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a life-long partner and advocate for veterans and all people with disabilities, PVA also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, and provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans of America serves veterans, their families, and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Learn more at