BE VERY WARY!

pvaflaglogoFrom time to time we will post information here to help you avoid scams, unethical practices, and problems that may affect you as a member of Keystone PVA.

Provided by the national PVA office, November 2013

 ISSUED DATE: NOVEMBER 21, 2013
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
A marketing company has acquired and is using two toll free numbers which are VERY SIMILAR to VBA (the VA’s Vetrerans’ Benefits Administration) toll free numbers. The marketer is trying to get callers to sign up to receive a Wal-Mart gift card, and is asking for PII (personal identifying information), to include credit card information. When asked if they are the VA, they reply vaguely, and explain that the VA is very busy and the call was directed to them. They don’t say they are the VA, but if asked if they can help with VA benefits, they say yes. In addition, they even offer to transfer the call to the VA, after the caller provides the credit card information to get the free Wal-Mart gift card.  This issue has been reported to the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission for review.
The two numbers identified in this alert are:
• 1-800-872-1000 which is very close to our main number of 1-800-827-1000
• 1-888-442-4511 which is very close to our GI-Bill number of 1-888-442-4551
FAQS
Q1. WHAT SHOULD WE TELL A VETERAN IF HE/SHE ASKS IF THIS IS A LEGITIMATE OFFER?
A: “The VA is not participating in any gift card promotions. We have been advised of this situation and have referred the issue to our Office of the Inspector General and have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Please use caution when disclosing personal information as it could be a fraudulent situation.”
Q2. IS THE VA RESEARCHING THIS ISSUE OR ATTEMPTING TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE COMPANY?
A: “The VA has reported this issue to the Office of the Inspector General and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. They will be reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate course of action.”
Q3. WHAT SHOULD WE TELL SOMEONE IF THEY HAVE MISTAKENLY RELEASED THEIR PII IN THIS SITUATION?
A: “The VA has reported this issue to the Office of the Inspector General and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. They will be reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate course of action. If you feel you have disclosed your personal information to an unauthorized individual, please contact your credit card company and advise them of the situation, review transactions, and request that a new card number be issued. You may request a free credit report from credit reporting agencies. In addition, you should also contact the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 and file a complaint.”
Q4. I CALLED THIS COMPANY. HOW CAN I FILE A COMPLAINT?
A: “Thank you for reporting this information to VA, you can contact the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 and file a complaint.”

From the Internal Revenue Service

From the IRS through Pittsburgh-based IRS Taxpayer Representative Regis P. Bodnar posted 31 October 2013): IRS warns of pervasive phone scam

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today warned consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country. Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting. “This scam has hit taxpayers in nearly every state in the country. We want to educate taxpayers so they can help protect themselves. Rest assured, we do not and will not ask for credit card numbers over the phone, nor request a pre-paid debit card or wire transfer,” says IRS Acting Commissioner Danny Werfel. “If someone unexpectedly calls claiming to be from the IRS and threatens police arrest, deportation or license revocation if you don’t pay immediately, that is a sign that it really isn’t the IRS calling.” Werfel noted that the first IRS contact with taxpayers on a tax issue is likely to occur via mail.

Other characteristics of this scam include: Scammers use fake names and IRS badge numbers. They generally use common names and surnames to identify themselves. Scammers may be able to recite the last four digits of a victim’s Social Security Number. Scammers spoof the IRS toll-free number on caller ID to make it appear that it’s the IRS calling. Scammers sometimes send bogus IRS emails to some victims to support their bogus calls. Victims hear background noise of other calls being conducted to mimic a call site. After threatening victims with jail time or driver’s license revocation, scammers hang up and others soon call back pretending to be from the local police or DMV, and the caller ID supports their claim.

If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS, here’s what you should do:
If you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call the IRS at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue. If you know you don’t owe taxes or have no reason to think that you owe any taxes (for example, you’ve never received a bill or the caller made some bogus threats as described above), then call and report the incident to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, you should also contact the Federal Trade Commission and use their “FTC Complaint Assistant” at FTC.gov. Please add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the comments of your complaint. Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams (such as a lottery sweepstakes) and solicitations (such as debt relief) that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS. The IRS encourages taxpayers to be vigilant against phone and email scams that use the IRS as a lure. The IRS does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels. The IRS also does not ask for PINs, passwords or similar confidential access information for credit card, bank or other financial accounts. Recipients should not open any attachments or click on any links contained in the message. Instead, forward the e-mail to phishing@irs.gov. More information on how to report phishing scams involving the IRS is available on the genuine IRS website, IRS.gov.
From Michael A. McBride, Director SPEC Headquarters Operations, Wage and Investment Division, through Pittsburgh-based IRS Taxpayer Representative Regis P. Bodnar(posted 04 June 2012):

“A few months ago I received information on this potential tax scheme and I referred it to the Identity Theft Team. The scheme involves individuals, including military members, military retirees, and civilian employees receiving an e-mail that appears to be from Defense Finance and Accounting Services, but it is actually from a non-government e-mail account. The e-mail indicates individuals receiving VA disability compensation can receive additional funds from the IRS by sending copies of their VA award letters, income tax return, 1099-Rs, Retiree Account Statements, and DD 214s to a retired colonel at an address in Florida. This can be costly for these taxpayers so we need to help mitigate the issue.”

From the Department of Veterans Affairs

(posted 02 December 2010):

“An organization called Veterans Affairs Services (VAS) is providing benefit and general information on VA and gathering personal information on veterans. This organization is not affiliated with VA in any way. (Its web site is http://www.vaservices.org/us/index.html)

“VAS may be gaining access to military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and seal. Our Legal Counsel has requested that we coordinate with DOD to inform military installations, particularly mobilization sites, of this group and their lack of affiliation or endorsement by VA to provide any services. In addition, GC requests that if you have any examples of VAS acts that violate chapter 59 of Title 38 United States Code, such as VAS employees assisting veterans in the preparation and presentation of claims for benefits, please pass any additional information to Mr. Daugherty at the address below.”

Michael G. Daugherty
Staff Attorney
Department of Veterans Affairs
Office of General Counsel (022G2)
810 Vermont Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20420

From the Department of Veterans Affairs via the Paralyzed Veterans of America (posted 08 September 2009):

The Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has received many reports that veterans are being contacted by “Patient Care Group” representing that they are helping administer VA prescriptions and stating that the pharmacy billing procedures have changed and they are therefore requesting veteran credit card numbers for prescription payments in advance of filling their prescriptions. This is false. VA does not call veterans asking to disclose personal financial information over the phone. The VA has not changed its processes for dispensing prescription medicines.

From the Small Business Administration via the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce

SBA warns of fraudulent attempts to obtain bank account information from small businesses

Veterans should also be aware of similar personal scams

WASHINGTON, 18 February 2009 — The U.S. Small Business Administration issued a scam alert today to small businesses, warning them not to respond to letters falsely claiming to have been sent by the SBA asking for bank account information in order to qualify them for federal tax rebates. The fraudulent letters were sent out with what appears to be an SBA letterhead to small businesses across the country, advising recipients that they may be eligible for a tax rebate under the Economic Stimulus Act, and that SBA is assessing their eligibility for such a rebate. The letter asks the small business to provide the name of its bank and account number. These letters have not been sent by or authorized by the SBA, and all small businesses are strongly advised not to respond to them. The scheme is similar in many ways to e-mail scams often referred to as “phishing” that seek personal data and financial account information that enables another party to access and individual’s bank accounts or to engage in identity theft. The SBA is working with the SBA Office of Inspector General to investigate this matter. The Office of Inspector General asks that anyone who receives such a letter report it to the OIG Fraud Line at 1 (800) 767-0385, or e-mail at OIGHotline@sba.gov.

From the Internal Revenue Service

Unauthorized representation of claimants and unlawful solicitation of fees

WASHINGTON, 30 January 2008 — The Internal Revenue Service today warned taxpayers to beware of several current e-mail and telephone scams that use the IRS name as a lure. The IRS expects such scams to continue through the end of tax return filing season and beyond. The IRS cautioned taxpayers to be on the lookout for scams involving proposed advance payment checks. Although the government has not yet enacted an economic stimulus package in which the IRS would provide advance payments, known informally as rebates to many Americans, a scam which uses the proposed rebates as bait has already cropped up. The goal of the scams is to trick people into revealing personal and financial information, such as Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers, which the scammers can use to commit identity theft. Typically, identity thieves use a victim’s personal and financial data to empty the victim’s financial accounts, run up charges on the victim’s existing credit cards, apply for new loans, credit cards, services or benefits in the victim’s name, file fraudulent tax returns or even commit crimes. Most of these fraudulent activities can be committed electronically from a remote location, including overseas. Committing these activities in cyberspace allows scamsters to act quickly and cover their tracks before the victim becomes aware of the theft. People whose identities have been stolen can spend months or years — and their hard-earned money — cleaning up the mess thieves have made of their reputations and credit records. In the meantime, victims may lose job opportunities, may be refused loans, education, housing or cars, or even get arrested for crimes they didn’t commit.

Click here for details on these most recent scams brought to IRS attention:

  • Rebate Phone Call
  • Refund e-Mail
  • Audit e-Mail
  • Changes to Tax Law e-Mail
  • Paper Check Phone Call
  • What to Do

Anyone wishing to access the IRS Web site should initiate contact by typing the IRS.gov address into their Internet address window, rather than clicking on a link in an e-mail or opening an attachment.

Those who have received a questionable e-mail claiming to come from the IRS may forward it to a mailbox the IRS has established to receive such e-mails, phishing@irs.gov, using instructions contained in an article titled “How to Protect Yourself from Suspicious E-Mails or Phishing Schemes.” Following the instructions will help the IRS track the suspicious e-mail to its origins and shut down the scam. Find the article by visiting IRS.gov and entering the words “suspicious e-mails” into the search box in the upper right corner of the front page.

Those who have received a questionable telephone call that claims to come from the IRS may also use the phishing@irs.gov mailbox to notify the IRS of the scam.

The IRS has issued previous warnings on scams that use the IRS to lure victims into believing the scam is legitimate. More information on identity theft, phishing and telephone scams using the IRS name, logo or spoofed (copied) Web site is available on this Web site. Enter the terms “phishing,” “identity theft” or “e-mail scams” into the search box in the upper right corner of the front page.

Forms and Publications

Contact the Keystone PVA office for other formsFive Facts Flyer–Portable Document File (.pdf) format
This eight-panel flyer describes five facts about Paralyzed Veterans of America that you may not have known, and clarifies a couple of frequent misconceptions. Learn why PVA, the Keystone Chapter, and the other 33 chapters across the nation comprise a veterans service organization that is surprisingly influential for its size. Members and other supporters of PVA’s work for veterans can print this out or send it along by e-mail to others with whom you would like to share our message.

Membership Application–NOT AVAILABLE ON-LINE for now.
Changes are underway. In the meantime, you can get one from the chapter office; call 412-781-2474 or 800-775-9323. Use this form to apply for full, voting membership in Keystone PVA. A full, voting member is one with a documented spinal cord dysfunction and has been discharged honorably from the United States Armed Services. There is no fee to become a full member.

Associate Membership Application–NOT YET AVAILABLE ON-LINE
We’ll put this up soon. In the meantime, you can get one by calling the office. Associate membership is for anyone who wishes to be a member but, because he or she is not a veteran or is not affected by a spinal cord dysfunction, cannot be a full, voting member. The associate membership fee is $25 annually.

After Action Report–MS Word format
After Action Report–Adobe portable document file format
Use this form (your choice of format) to report the volunteer work you have done on behalf of the Keystone PVA each month. Remember that your work gets credit at the national PVA level, and that reporting in a timely manner, before the seventh day of the following month, is very important.

Keystone PVA Operations Manual –portable document file (.pdf) format
This is the chapter’s rule book. It’s 461KB in size in portable document file (.pdf) format, so it may take a minute to download if you use dial-up Internet service.

Prosthetics Delay Report Form –portable document file (.pdf) format
This for veterans to report delays more than 30 days in the delivery of prosthetic devices, such as wheelchairs, to the national PVA office. It’s 520KB in size in portable document file (.pdf) format, so it may take a minute to download if you use dial-up Internet service. The form gives you e-mail and fax information so you can return it; you can also mail it to Sherman Gillums, Paralyzed Veterans of America, 801 18th Street N.W., Washington DC 20006-3517. The form is fillable, that is, if you access it online, you can fill it out right on your computer.

Volunteer Program Report–MS Word format
Volunteer Program Report–Adobe portable document file format
Use this form (your choice of format) to request reimbursement for qualified out-of-pocket expenses you have incurred while doing work on behalf of the Keystone PVA. If you are not sure if an expense is qualified, contact the chapter treasurer.

Volunteer Program Report–extra page–MS Word format
Volunteer Program Report–extra page–Adobe portable document file format
Use this form (your choice of format) if you need an extra page for your Volunteer Program Report

Sponsorship application–MS Word format
Sponsorship application–Adobe portable document file format
If you are a full member, you can use this form (your choice of format) to apply for chapter financial support of a qualifying recreational activity. But don’t send it in without consulting with a chapter officer. The Board always wants a heads-up before considering a new request.

SCI Annual Examination Survey–MS Word format
SCI Annual Examination Survey–Adobe portable document file format
Keystone PVA members should use this form (your choice of format) immediately following your annual SCI exam to provide important feedback on your experience. We will delete your name and the date and time of your visit and return it to the SCI coordinator at the facility at which you had your exam. You will receive two Health and Recreation Points toward your chapter recreational support eligibility by returning this form.

Christopher A. Fidler

CF01
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.

Election results for FY2018 announced

The Keystone Paralyzed Veterans who ran for re-election to the chapter’s Board of Directors were all elected by the members.  The results were announced at the chapter’s Membership Meeting on 12 August.

Re-elected were (in the photos left to right) Ben Williams, Bill Lightner, and George “Murph” Neelan.  Write-ins were permitted.  Their terms will begin on 01 October 2017 and end 30 September 2020.

 

 

Interested in running for the Board next year?
Subject to changes that might be implemented beforehand, the following is what members need to know if they plan to vote and/or if they are considering candidacy next year:

Board positions up for election
Three directors, each for three years until 30 September 2021.

Eligibility
Any “voting member” is eligible to vote and/or run for a seat on the Board as a director or officer.  A “voting member” is a person who has been accepted for membership by virtue of being a United States military veteran and a citizen of the United States with a physician-verified spinal cord dysfunction.  No others are eligible.

Responsibility
Though the chapter and PVA use the term “member,” neither are clubs but are corporations organized not for profit.  Board members have legal obligations known as “fiduciary responsibilities” to oversee the affairs of the chapter according to all federal, state and local laws.  There are no “owners” of the chapter.  The Board members are trustees, administering the chapter for the benefit of all members.

Duties
Attendance at Board meetings are the start of the duties.  Keystone PVA’s Board maintains a very impressive attendance record of close to 90 percent, year to year.  These meetings are only for transacting the business of the whole organization.  They are not committee meetings or social events, and they take approximately two hours to complete each month.  Most business items are prepared in advance through committees or by consultation with the Board president or executive director.  One week before the Board meeting, the officers and executive director meet to review items submitted for the Board’s agenda, but they never make any decisions (except those which may need to be ratified by the full Board at its next meeting) nor do they prevent an item of business from appearing on the agenda.  They simply insure that they understand each item.
Most of the chapter’s programs (e.g., advocacy, membership, recreation, and service) are conducted directly by Board members.  All activity by the chapter is authorized by the Board, though the Board delegates that activity to individual Board members and to staff.  Historically, Board members who do nothing more than attend Board meetings do not last.

Election process
The membership officer shall oversee the election process.  The membership officer is Tom Strang.

A member who wishes to serve on the Board must submit a candidacy statement no later than the Friday at the end of the first full business week of June that will be sent out to all voting members with the ballot and will be published in the July-August issue of The Parascope.  The statement should contain your reasons for why you should be elected.  It often includes some biography and some things you would like the chapter to do or continue doing.  You should also submit a head-and-shoulders photo of yourself, or go to the office to have a photo taken.

Your candidacy statement may not be any longer than 400 words.  It will not be used if it is longer; 250 words is a better, more readable length; readers will not be impressed by a lot of words.  Candidates may ask for assistance in writing a statement by the executive director, but the candidate has the final decision on content within the 400 word limit.

The candidacy statement and photo must be finalized and delivered to the chapter office by 07 June 2013, no exceptions.   In the absence of a statement, the name of the candidate and a photo of the candidate, if available, will be used.  The Board will review the slate of candidates to insure that all are members in good standing.

The ballot will be mailed to all voting members by first class mail during the first full business week in July.  Enclosed with the ballot will be all candidacy statements and a return envelope.  For a ballot to be valid:
–It must be marked according to the instructions enclosed.
— It must by returned in the return envelope provided.
–It must be returned to the Keystone PVA office through the
United States Postal Service.
–It must be postmarked no later than 31 July.

All ballots will be tabulated at the chapter office on the Friday before the August Membership Meeting.

The results of the tabulation will be announced on the chapter’s web site, www.kpva.org, and in the September-October edition of The Parascope.

Those who receive the highest numbers of votes for director will be notified by the Keystone PVA president during the week following the tabulation.  All terms will take effect on 01 October and will end on 30 September three years later.

All newly elected or re-elected officers and directors shall attend the September Board of Directors meeting to complete required forms.  All newly elected or re-elected officers and directors shall attend the Annual Awards Banquet in early October to take the oath of office.  (Note: Though the oath is ceremonial and all terms of office will take effect at midnight on 01 October with or without it, it is a custom of long standing and value and participation is expected.)

Joseph W. Dornbrock

Joseph W. Dornbrock
Joseph W. Dornbrock

Executive Director
Residence: Penn Hills, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania

Summary:

  • Executive Director of Keystone PVA since April 2005
  • Navy veteran, 1974-1980. Served as a nuclear reactor operator aboard the USS Bainbridge (CGN-25) 1976-1980
  • Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) in communications, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, 1984.
  • Continuing professional education includes Institute for Organization Management, 1986-1991, and Penn State Economic Development Course, 1995
  • Previously worked for chambers of commerce and economic development organizations
  • Also worked as a newspaper writer and photographer and as a substitute classroom teacher
  • Past professional affiliations include Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Executives (president, 1993) and Clarion University Alumni Association (president, 1989)
  • Currently treasurer of the PVA Association of Chapter Executive Directors

Joe went to work for the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America in April 2005 as only its second executive director since the chapter’s founding in 1960. (Joe Kiren, in the 1990s, was the first.) Since then, he has supported, initiated, or convinced the chapter to expand its reach into the business and civic communities in Pennsylvania, where the Paralyzed Veterans have experienced growing support for its mission and its modest financial needs. The chapter is a charter member of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, on whose Public Policy Committee Joe serves. To stay visible and engaged in the community, the chapter has memberships and representatives on civic, business, and veterans support organizations across Pennsylvania. Joe supported the revision of PVA’s Chapter Hospital Liaison program, beginning with arranging for a meeting among the PVA’s top national officers and chapter leaders in 2010, and renewed training for HLOs in 2011. Since then, the Keystone Chapter’s HLO program has consistently turned in detailed and timely reports on how veterans are being treated in VA medical centers in Pennsylvania, and has prompted these VAMCs to make improvements in operations and facilities for all vets.

Joe supported and sometimes initiated expansions of the chapter’s recreation programs. Following his involvement in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Pittsburgh in August 2011, he prompted a review of the partnership relationship between the PVA and its chapters and the VA, the latter being the nominal sponsor for the Games, a review that resulted in a formal set of initial guidelines for host chapters, approved by the PVA Board of Directors May 2016.  In partnership with PVA’s Shooting Sports program, he initiated the chapter’s participation in the PVA Trap Shoot Circuit, holding its first event in the Pittsburgh region in September 2013.

Joe’s first assignment for the chapter in 2005 was to move its headquarters offices into premises that had been acquired shortly before he went on the job. He arranged for contractors to make modifications to the building and parking lot that made it Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant, as well as making or arranging for the installation of equipment and the move itself to Sharpsburg, 20 miles from the previous location near Bridgeville and much closer to the VA Pittsburgh HealthCare System’s campuses. He remains the overseer of the building’s operations and maintenance.

Joe had 20 years experience as a nonprofit organization manager, mostly with chambers of commerce, small foundations and economic development organizations when he went to work for the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans. The most strking difference between the Boards of Directors he had worked for and the Paralyzed Veterans was how much of the organization’s work was done by the veterans themselves. They visited the hospitals to monitor conditions, organized recreation events, and did much of the chapter administration, such as the financial accounting.

Joe has been a member of the PVA Association of Chapter Executive Directors (ACED) since his first year on the job with the Keystone Chapter. The ACED develops professional skills and shares best practices among PVA chapter executives. Joe currently serves as the association’s treasurer.

Among his previous professional affiliations was his 13-year membership in the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Executives, including seven years on the PCCE Board, one of those years as president. He was also a Board member and president of the alumni association of his alma mater, Clarion University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a bachelor’s degree, summa cum laude, in communications with a concentration in business.

Among many professional development programs that he has both organized and participated in, Joe is a graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation’s Institute for Organization Management and Penn State University’s Economic Development Course.

Joe is a Navy veteran of six years. He was trained to operate, test and maintain naval nuclear power plants and served in those capacities aboard the USS Bainbridge (CGN-25), with deployments in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The Bainbridge’s most notable service during Joe’s enlistment from 1974 to 1980 was as part of the task force that responded to the taking of the American embassy hostages in Teheran, Iran, in November 1979. The Bainbridge set a ship’s endurance record of 91 continuous days at sea while it was deployed to the Arabian Sea.

Upon his honorable discharge in May 1980 in San Diego, he returned to Clarion, Pennsylvania, where his mother and father still live. He assisted his father with his business and began coursework at Clarion State College, finishing with a degree in communications in May 1984, the year CSC became Clarion University of Pennsylvania. During his college work he was also employed full time as a reporter and photographer for the Leader-Vindicator newspaper in nearby New Bethlehem. The college and newspaper work supported his application to become the executive director of the Clarion Area Chamber of Commerce, where he worked for three years. He followed that with work at the Mon-Yough and Airport Area Chambers of Commerce and the Airport Area Development Council through 2004.

Joe is very proud to serve alongside his fellow veterans. He believes that the Paralyzed Veterans of America has been enormously successful in promoting and achieving rights and services for veterans, with and without spinal cord dysfunctions, and for a much broader disability community, despite the fact that PVA and its 34 chapters nationwide are a relatively small and often obscure veterans service organization. He also is certain that PVA can be even more influential as the public learns more about what its own veterans do (read the Five Facts Flyer issued by the Keystone Chapter). PVA members leave no man or woman behind.

Joe has been married to Sylvett, a registered nurse, since 2005.  They reside in Penn Hills, a community just east of Pittsburgh.

Jerry “Bull” Baylor

BullB
Jerry “Bull” Baylor

Member, Board of Directors; Sports Director

I joined the U.S. Marines in 1966 and went through boot camp at Parris Island for eight weeks training, which was usually 12 weeks, but Marines were needed for Vietnam. Next I went to Camp Lejeune for infantry training where I was trained in every individual combat weapon. When that was completed I went Lejeune Court House Bay for Combat Engineer School. Training there was fast and furious because combat engineers were needed quickly. A 20-week school was crammed into 20 days. The Marine Corps also put me through the combat and staging battalion at Camp Pendleton, California. So I entered Boot Camp in May and was in Vietnam before Thanksgiving. I served 13 months all over Vietnam; on my return I was stationed at Norfolk, Virginia to finish my four-year hitch as an E-5 Sergeant.

I worked at Allegheny Ludlum Steel until I became disabled in a motorcycle accident in 1980. I sustained a C6-7 injury, leaving me a quadriplegic.

My rehabilitation was at Harmarville, where I was introduced into wheelchair sports by the Pittsburgh Steelwheelers. I have participated in sports over 32 years in marathons, road racing, track, field, and quad rugby. My greatest satisfaction comes from getting others involved.

Through sports I was introduced to Paralyzed Veterans of America. I became a member in the 1980s and have held many offices including secretary, board member, sports director, legislative advocacy director, vice president, and president. I continue as a board member and am the current Sports Director. I volunteer approximately 1000 hours annually at the Heinz campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System and with the Keystone Chapter

Welcome to the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America

PrintThe Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America is one of 34 chartered chapters of the Paralyzed Veterans of America in the United States. The chapter was founded in 1960.

People are usually surprised to know that the U. S. government and the Department of Veterans Affairs do not provide for all the needs of veterans, even those who have been disabled or paralyzed. In fact, many of those services that are provided did not exist until veterans service organizations, the PVA among them, worked with Congress and the VA to put those services into place. And we work every day to try to make those services better and meet the changing needs.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America, founded in 1946, is a Congressionally chartered veterans’ service organization that has developed a unique expertise on many issues relating to the special needs of its members–veterans of the armed services who have experienced spinal cord injury or dysfunction.  (“Congressionally-chartered” means that the Congress set our operating parameters.  PVA and its chapters do got get government money–your taxes!–unless we perform a service under contract.  The Keystone chapter has no such service contracts, and we depend exclusively on non-tax donations.)

What does the PVA do?

The PVA uses this expertise to be the leading advocate for:

  • Quality health care for its members,
  • Research and education addressing spinal cord injury and dysfunction,
  • Benefits available as a result of its members’ military service,
  • Civil rights and opportunities which maximize the independence of its members

The mission of the Keystone PVA is to improve the quality of life of paralyzed veterans by

  • Encouraging and supporting spinal cord injury and disease research;
  • Improving access to health care and other veterans’ benefits;
  • Assisting in the expansion of opportunities in wheelchair sports and recreation; and
  • Advocating for the rights of disabled people, including the reduction and elimination of barriers to accessibility and mobility.A remarkable feature of Keystone PVA is that its members serve other members. The Board of Directors is completely made up of paralyzed veterans. They and other PVA members contact public officials to inform them of the needs of paralyzed vets. They visit other veterans in the VA medical centers and in other medical facilities to try to get them the best care available. They encourage their fellow vets to get active and involved in life activities that may not have been possible a generation ago.You can help them by volunteering your time!
    Contact our Volunteer Coordinator, Agnes Strang, by calling the Keystone PVA offices, 800-775-9323 or 412-781-2474.You can help with your financial support!
    Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America is a non-profit organization that relies completely on contributions made from the general public. If you are interested in donating, please contact the office at 412-781-2474 or 800-775-9323. You may also send a fax to 412-781-2659 or e-mail the office. Your donations are greatly appreciated by all members. Click here for more information.You can help by donating household goods!
    Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America has a partner, American Thrift Center, which will accept your slightly-used household goods. Your donations help fund Keystone PVA programs. Click here for more information.

Donate TIME

Keystone PVA can benefit from your time, whether it’s to work on assembling the Easter Bags for Hospitalized Vets, or to volunteer time at one of the veterans’ hospitals in Altoona, Butler, Erie, Lebanon, or Pittsburgh (and we’re looking for folks in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre area). Want to know more? Contact Volunteer Coordinator Agnes Strang, 724-745-1861.

Donate MONEY

We can make your donation of money go a long way, especially if you donate directly by check made out to “Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America” or “Keystone PVA,” and mailed to Keystone PVA, 1113 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15215-2407.

You can make a donation by credit card by going to GreatNonprofits.org. Click here to go to the Keystone PVA page at GreatNonprofits.org.

(You can also donate your opinion! Near the top of the Keystone PVA page at GreatNonprofits.org is the “Write A Review” button. Click there and offer your thoughts about us. Of course, we would also appreciate hearing those thoughts directly from you, by phone, postal service or e-mail–keystonepva@comcast.net .)

We will be pleased to apply any amount you may wish to contribute to the programs of the Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America. And we will be most grateful for your support.

We have three targeted needs right now: 1) Support for the attendance of our wheelchair athletes at the 30th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Denver in July 2010 (cost per athlete: $2,500); 2) Support for the operation of the NVWG in Pittsburgh in August 2011 (Local share: $300,000); 3) Construction of a message sign on Washington Boulevard in Pittsburgh near the veterans’ home and veterans’ hospital (total cost: $25,000+). Anything helps!

Donate SERVICES

From time to time Keystone PVA needs professional services–legal, financial, or minor maintenance, to name a few. Right now, we need to upgrade our electrical service in our copy room and our kitchenette. It’s not a big job, but it would make it easier to do the work of the chapter.