PVA honors corporations and leaders championing the rights of veterans and people with disabilities
WASHINGTON (Sept. 26, 2019) — Paralyzed Veterans of America held its 2019 Gala on Tuesday, Sept. 24 honoring corporations and individuals who are leading the way in championing the rights of veterans and all people living with disabilities. The evening’s honorees were U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (IL); Rosen Hotels & Resorts President and COO, Harris Rosen; Agility; and The Walt Disney Company.
PVA was joined by many distinguished guests including the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs, Robert Wilkie, who gave the keynote address, and VA Deputy Secretary James Byrne. Actor and comedian Sinbad, who is a U.S. Air Force veteran, served as the master of ceremonies for the evening, and guests were entertained by musician Chris Daughtry. The annual event also raises vital funds that allow PVA to provide their programs and services free of charge to veterans and their families and caregivers.
“PVA is honored to recognize the achievements of our 2019 awardees,” said David Zurfluh, a U.S. Air Force veteran and national president of PVA. “Their dedication to helping veterans and all people with disabilities truly sets the standard. We’re proud to have them by our side as we continue to advocate for quality health care, earned benefits, jobs and a barrier-free America for paralyzed veterans and all those living with a disability.”
Senator Duckworth was presented with the PVA Gordon H. Mansfield Congressional Leadership Award for being a champion for the civil rights of veterans and all individuals with disabilities. Senator Duckworth led congressional efforts to ensure the Department of Transportation implemented its wheelchair damage reporting requirement for domestic airlines. She was also an original co-sponsor of the Air Carrier Access Amendments Act, which would increase access for people with disabilities in air travel and improve enforcement.
Harris Rosen, president and COO of Rosen Hotels & Resorts, was honored with the PVA Social Progress Award. The U.S. Army veteran has leveraged his influence and resources to give back to his fellow veterans by giving them the dignity and support they deserve. Whether offering them valuable discounts at his properties, supporting employment initiatives, or hosting PVA events, he has shown that he values veterans’ service and sacrifice.
Two companies also received special recognition at the 14th annual PVA Gala. Agility was honored for their deep commitment to supporting Paralyzed Veterans of America’s employment program, PAVE. Agility Defense & Government Services has generously donated their time and resources over the past 12 years to host the Paralyzed Veterans Golf Open, where 100% of the proceeds raised go directly toward PVA’s employment program. Since its inception in 2008, the PVGO has raised more than $4 million for the program.
The final award of the evening, the PVA Disability Civil Rights Award, was presented to The Walt Disney Company for the many ways their team around the world have made it possible for those with physical and cognitive disabilities to have a safe and enjoyable visit to Disney Parks and Resorts. From offering access service, lifts, ramps, ample signage, wheelchair-friendly room modifications, and more, Disney Parks and Resorts has truly been a wonderful advocate for the civil rights of individuals with disabilities.
To learn more about the PVA Gala, visit pva.org/gala. To view photos from this year’s event, visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/paralyzedveterans/albums.