Christopher A. Fidler
Member, Board of Directors; Site Leader, Hospital Liaison, and VAVS Representative (Lebanon VA Medical Center)
I joined the Army at age 17, and was a member of Company C 2/504 (AbnInf) with the 82nd Airborne. I was an infantry squad leader, and rose to the rank of Sergeant (E-5) in three years, before breaking my back in a freak motorcycle accident at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. In addition to my Airborne Jump Wings, I earned an Expert Infantry Badge and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
I am 100% service connected, with a T-4 complete injury, resulting in my being a paraplegic. I was approached by a member of Paralyzed Veterans of America while in the hospital, and their representative helped me through a rough transitional period. I learned that “the system” didn’t do anything to provide me with the information necessary to make sure I received all of the benefits I was entitled to. Thanks to the PVA representative, I was able to understand how to apply for, and receive, all of the finances and prosthetics I needed to make life as a paraplegic bearable.
I have been active in the Sports & Recreation programs that the Paralyzed Veterans Keystone Chapter offers, and have won many medals and awards. But more importantly, I’ve used the opportunity to meet and share experiences with my fellow veterans.
I want to give back to my fellow veterans, and help them like I was helped. Through my years as a Board member of the Keystone Chapter, I have learned what it takes to work within “the system”, and have had a good deal of success at the Lebanon VA Medical Center and elsewhere, providing information and pushing the various government agencies to recognize their responsibility to paralyzed veterans in particular, and to the entire disabled veteran community.