Three paralyzed vets to press issues in D.C.

Three paralyzed veterans from the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (Keystone PVA) will visit the nation’s capital in early March to speak with Congressional members and staff about the issues that most affect their health and mobility.

Christopher Fidler of Jonestown, Pa., Bill Lightner of Hollidaysburg, Pa., and Mark Rosensteel of Apollo, Pa., will visit each office of the members of Congress from Pennsylvania to discuss benefits for catastrophically-disabled vets, access to Social Security benefits, application of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and maintaining the Veterans Health Administration.

“The Veterans Health Administration is what VA medical facilities and personnel are parts of,” explained Keystone PVA Executive Director Joe Dornbrock.  “It is not a parallel, redundant operation but a program of specialized care for veterans that cannot be magically or inexpensively supplanted by a ‘choice card.’  Large-scale privatization would be very costly and would disrupt needed health care to many men and women who defended the nation.”  He said that Fidler, Lightner and Rosensteel would be reminding federal legislators of these facts, and will provide suggestions to improve the existing system.

Despite their paralysis, Fidler, an Army veteran, and Lightner and Rosensteel, who both served in the Air Force, will visit both Senate and House offices on either side of the Capitol.  Their visits will follow two days of meetings focusing on the details of these issues.  The meetings will be conducted by specialists in health care, government affairs, and advocacy from the national office of the Paralyzed Veterans, which is based in Washington, D.C.  Paralyzed vets from other chapters of the Paralyzed Veterans will also travel to Washington for the meetings and visits to be held 06 through 09 March.

In advance of the meetings, Paralyzed Veterans of America and its partners, the Disabled American Veterans and Veterans of Foreign Wars will present The Independent Budget to the VA and to Congress, detailing how our three organizations believe how the VA budget ought to support the health needs of eligible vets.

Plan for 2017’s big events

Now’s the time to plan for Keystone Paralyzed Veterans’ big events in 2017.  The third page of your January-February newsletter, The Parascope, listed them all.  Here’s a reminder:

Air Rifle Seminar and competition at HealthSouth Harmarville, 320 Guys Run Road, Pittsburgh PA 15238, Saturday and Sunday, 18-19 March

Bass Tournament, American Legion Post 940, 800 Center Street, Brownsville PA 15417, Sunday, 18 June

Kennywood Park Picnic, Kennywood Park, 4800 Kennywood Boulevard, West Mifflin, PA 15122, a Monday in July yet to be determined

Trap and Pistol Shoot, Clairton Sportsmen’s Club, 412 Coal Valley Road, Clairton PA 15025, Friday through Sunday, 22-24 September

Annual Awards Banquet, Hampton Banquet Hall, 5416 William Flinn Highway (Pa. Route 8), Gibsonia PA 15044, Thursday, 05 October

Veteran’s Day events on Saturday, 11 November.  There are many events around Pennsylvania that our members participate in, but the chapter has its biggest turnout for the parade in Pittsburgh.

These are the major events; there are also our bi-monthly membership meetings held at two or three locations at once and linked by conference phone.

Most of these activities are in cooperation with other organizations.  The Air Rifle Seminar and Competition involves the host location, the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, and the National Rifle Association.  The Bass Tournament has the help of the host location and the Greene County BassMasters.  The Trap and Pistol Shoot is one stop of 12 on the national Paralyzed Veterans’ Trap Shoot Circuit, and is held with the generous help of the Clairton Sportsmen’s Club.  The Veterans’ Day Parade in Pittsburgh is organized by the Federation of War Veterans Societies, and we just show up with our members, families and vehicles.  (And we enjoy lunch at the Wyndham Grand Hotel at the end of the parade.)  And our Membership Meetings are hosted in several VA medical centers in Pennsylvania, with the conference phone service provided by the national Paralyzed Veterans of America.

Most of these events are “non-member friendly.”  You don’t always have to be a chapter member to participate in or support them.  Give our office a call, and we can give you more information: 800-775-9323 or 412-781-2474.


Keystone PVA wheelchair athletes earn 55 medals at annual Games


Keystone PVA’s 14 wheelchair athletes brought back a total of 55 medals from the 36th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Salt Lake City, Utah from 27 June through 02 July.  In the photo, Bull Baylor lifts 175 pounds for a first place in his division, encouraged on by Ed Shearer, holding his legs, and Alicia Pastva in the yellow shirt.  Bull won seven gold medals, one silver and one bronze during the week.  The full summary of our chapter athlete’s performances will be 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 web site.