PVA celebrates 75-year legacy by inviting all Americans to Honor the Spot and keep accessible parking spaces open for the people who need themPost Date: May 18, 2021
PVA celebrates 75-year legacy by inviting all Americans to Honor the Spot and keep accessible parking spaces open for the people who need them
Yearlong anniversary celebration kicks off with a campaign addressing the innocent acts people commit every day that hurt those with disabilities, and a special letter from President Biden
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 18, 2021) — Paralyzed Veterans of America, the nation’s only nonprofit organization dedicated solely to helping veterans with spinal cord injuries, disorders, and diseases, today kicked off its yearlong 75th anniversary celebration with the launch of its Honor the Spot campaign. Inspired by its founders, the initiative encourages all Americans to do their part to keep handicapped parking spaces open for people who need them.
Announced at its 2021 Annual Convention, PVA’s call to Honor the Spot comes as pandemic restrictions ease and public spaces open up to larger capacities. The campaign includes a PSA airing on television stations throughout the U.S. and an invitation to sign a pledge of support.
“Since 1946, PVA members and staff have worked tirelessly to fight for greater accessibility,” said David Zurfluh, U.S. Air Force veteran and PVA national president. “Our Honor the Spot campaign is about carrying that mission forward into today’s challenges, like accessible parking, which is a huge problem facing our members and others with mobility challenges. It is also about educating the public, who may not realize the impact that misusing these spaces, even for a minute, can have on people with disabilities.”
According to a 2018 national survey of 4,000 people with disabilities, 96% of respondents said accessible parking was key to their independence. Sadly, 85% had problems finding spaces in their communities, and 52% were forced to turn back because they couldn’t find accessible parking. Among the most widespread violations were vehicles parked too close and accessible parking fraud—such as the sharing, selling, or counterfeiting of handicapped placards.
PVA believes people with disabilities deserve better and is urging everyone to become part of the solution by visiting PVA.org/HonorTheSpot to learn more and encouraging others to do the same.
Adding to the excitement of PVA’s yearlong celebration is a letter addressed from President Joe Biden recognizing PVA’s contribution to America’s veterans.
“I send my best wishes to all those celebrating the 75th anniversary of Paralyzed Veterans of America,” said Biden. “The work of Paralyzed Veterans of America is crucial in ensuring our veterans and families receive the benefits, care, and support they deserve. Your tireless efforts help our wounded heroes live with dignity and freedom, empowering them to overcome any obstacle. You change lives. Your continued commitment to our Nation’s veterans is an inspiration to us all, …”
In response to the letter, Zurfluh said, “There is no greater honor than having our nation’s Commander in Chief recognize the blood, sweat, and tears of our veterans, as well as PVA’s founders, members, Chapters, and staff. PVA would not have accomplished all that it has today with them, as well as the ongoing support of all our generous partners and donors. This year of celebration is just as much about them as it is about us, as we are a team.”
PVA was conceived on January 18, 1946, when seventy paraplegic patients of the Birmingham General Hospital in Van Nuys, CA. met inside the Recreation Hall of the Red Cross. These founding members came home from World War II to a country that was not ready for them. They banded together and formed PVA to improve accessibility for all, to fight for earned benefits, and to find a cure for paralysis. Since then, PVA has strived to create a world where paralyzed veterans can live, work, and travel with the same freedom, independence, and dignity as every American.
Some of the upcoming highlights of PVA’s yearlong celebration include:
- Stateside PVA Chapter Celebrations – From anniversary-themed ceremonies to local tournaments, our 33 Chapters will celebrate throughout the year.
- PN 75th Anniversary Commemorative Issues – The magazine of PVA, Paraplegic News, is currently reflecting on all aspects of our organization’s history – what it has accomplished, what it is doing today, and what lies ahead. The digital edition of the magazine, to include a series of feature stories, will continue to be found at https://bit.ly/3hvGlHH.
- National Veterans Wheelchair Games – Co-presented by PVA and the VA, the 40th National Veterans Wheelchair Games will take place in New York City Aug. 7-14. A hybrid event, offering both in-person and at-home competitions, the Games will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
- Groundbreaking of New SCI/D Center – PVA will be front and center for the groundbreaking of VA’s new, four-story, $230 million Spinal Cord Injury and Community Living Center in San Diego, CA. on Jun. 16. PVA’s architects were an integral part of this new facility, which will provide the latest state-of-the-art healthcare for our SCI/D veterans.
- PVA Healthcare Summit & Expo – Clinicians from around the U.S. and Canada will convene for the 10th Healthcare Summit & Expo in Dallas, TX. Aug. 29-Sept. 1. For more info or to register, visit www.summitPVA.org.
- Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat – Created for women, by women, PVA will host its Second Annual Women Veterans Empowerment Retreat in Tempe, AZ. Sept. 29-Oct. 3. The event focuses on the holistic well-being of women veterans with disabilities.
To learn more about PVA and any of its upcoming celebratory events, visit us at PVA.org and be sure to join the conversation online using #HonorTheSpot.
About Paralyzed Veterans of America
For 75 years, Paralyzed Veterans of America has been the only Veterans service organization dedicated solely to helping Veterans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), and diseases like MS and ALS. Our team of legislative advocates, architects, medical professionals, lawyers, and other highly trained professionals strives to ensure that every Veteran regains the freedom, independence, and quality of life they fought for.
PVA is a major support system for our nation’s paralyzed heroes, their families, and caregivers, through ensuring quality health care; securing earned benefits; fighting for disability civil rights; making America more accessible; helping Veterans find meaningful careers; empowering them through sports, recreation, and wellness programs; and funding both research and education in search for a cure and improved care and autonomy for individuals with paralysis. Operating more than 70 offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, PVA helps paralyzed Veterans and all people with disabilities live fuller, more productive lives.
# # #