Golden performances at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games

Gary Kirkendall lifts 245 lbs. to win gold in his division

Keystone PVA’s 17 wheelchair athletes brought back a total of 69 medals from the 34th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Philadelphia during the week of 11 August. In the photo, Gary Kirkendall is one of five of our 17 athletes who won medals in weightlifting. A complete medal summary is in the September-October edition of the chapter’s bi-monthly newsletter, the Parascope, which you can have mailed to you or you can download from this page.

You helped Keystone PVA win this Toyota Sienna Mobility van!

Keystone PVA win this Toyota Sienna Mobility van!

And we have used that van to serve paralyzed veterans, including their visits to members of Congress in March. Your vote pushed us WAY over the top! It is so gratifying to know that paralyzed veterans have so many helpful friends.

And now, here’s the Toyota Sienna Mobility van! It was presented at Rohrich Toyota in Pittsburgh on 05 February. Rorhich Toyota General Manager Mark Podrosky welcomed members of Keystone PVA. His staff and Don and Ed Shelpman of Keystone Coach Works, which modified the van with the power ramp and other wheelchair-friendly accessories, were there to show us all of the controls and how to use them.

We also thank Tori Mistick of Social Media Marketing, who helped promote the event, and took the photos shown here.

Keystone PVA win this Toyota Sienna Mobility van!
Keystone PVA win this Toyota Sienna Mobility van!

In the photo above, Don Shelpman showed guests from Keystone chapter how the auxiliary power to the ramp works. On behalf of Keystone Coach Works, Don and his brother Ed presented a generous cash donation to Keystone Chapter, which will help defray additional costs of getting the transportation program up and running.

Persons interested in volunteering to drive should contact the office, 412-781-2474, and ask for Joe Dornbrock.

Need to check on other events that the chapter is involved in?
Click here to go to the Events page for details.

Winter Sports Clinic

Orlando participates in Winter Sports Clinic

Gary Orlando Sr. (shown at left with Secretary of Veterans Affairs Jim Nicholson), a member of the Keystone chapter Board of Directors, participated in the 21st Annual National Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic in Snowmass Village, Colorado, during the first week of April. He used a bi-ski to Alpine ski. He also did some rock climbing.

At the photo at left, Gary is at the top of the mountain, “Big Burn Run,” with instructors Stacy Lunn and Jeff Pitts.

Below, Gary is awarded his participation medal by the coordinator of the clinic and the national commander of the Disabled American Veterans, Bradley S. Barton. The DAV is the primary organizer of the clinic.

Orlando at the award stand


From the Department of Veterans Affairs

Unauthorized representation of claimants and unlawful solicitation of fees

There have been reports about individuals employed by private companies who claim to help veterans and their dependents apply for VA benefits. Some of these individuals have targeted elderly claimants at assisted living facilities. They have given claimants the impression that they are employed by the VA.

Representation before VA consists of actions associated with the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for a VA claimant. A claimant is a person who has filed or has expressed an intention to file a written application for benefits. Among other things, representation may include counseling on veterans benefits, gathering information necessary to file a claim for benefits, preparing claim forms, submitting claim information to the VA, and communicating with VA on a claimant’s behalf.

Federal law requires that lawful recognition of a representative can only be done by the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs. VA may authorize an individual to prepare a benefit claim for a veteran on a one-time basis, authorization cannot be used again without approval of the VA’s General Counsel.

Solicitation of fees
Accredited attorneys and agents are allowed to charge fees for representational services they provide after the Board of Veterans’ Appeals makes a final decision in a case. VA’s regulations provide a narrow exception to the general rule whereby a “disinterested” third party may pay an accredited attorney or agent for services provided before a final Board decision, and that representation can include the preparation of claims.

Some organizations that do not qualify for VA recognition structure their business to receive payment for their services from claimants’ private care providers in an effort to avoid criminal penalties. The care providers typically do not know that these organizations are prohibited by law from preparing claims and charging fees, and are generally unaware of the services provided freely by recognized veterans’ service organizations such as the PVA.

Recognized representatives
The VA recognizes 87 veterans service organizations–37 nationally, and one in each state. If you would like to know who has been authorized to represent veterans in matters of benefits, contact us by
Phone 800-775-9323 or 412-781-2474
Fax 412-781-2659