weather icon Cloudy

Paralyzed Veterans aids those with spinal cord disabilities

There are many organizations that help veterans, and sometimes they overlap. In fact, there is often much overlap, but each major group does have a positive specialty of some type, such as Paralyzed Veterans of America, Nevada Chapter.

As with most veterans groups, one of the first rules of order is to assist their members in filing for any benefits they may be entitled to. The president of the local chapter, Dan Kaminski, is proud to point out that the top priority of the PVA is to help the nation’s veterans who face a lifetime of tough new challenges adjust to life with severe disabilities.

“We take care of the spinal cord injured and spinal cord dysfunctional veterans. And we take care of those with MS (multiple sclerosis), and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) and quite a few different things. We try to make their lives as best as possible, and take them through the VA (Veterans Affairs) system and see that they are getting all their benefits,” Kaminiski said.

The group is centered in Southern Nevada but also reaches in the northern portion of the state, southern Utah and northern Arizona. “Statewide we have over 175 members, and associate members vary at about 100.”

As with most community-supported groups, earning charitable funds is always on the menu. On April 22 at Bunker Park on West Alexander Road in Las Vegas, the PVA will hold its annual “Walk, Run and Roll” 5K run or a 1k fun-walk event, which is open to the public.

“You got your runners, you got your people who wanna walk, and we also have people in wheelchairs,” Kaminski said. And he is quick to point out that walkers and runners have nothing to fear. “The wheelchair folks won’t run you over,” he claims with a smile. Detailed information is available at http://nevadapva.org.

Kaminski is a Navy veteran, and received his injury in a motorcycle accident while in the service in Florida. He had served just over eight years, and planned on making it a career.

“I got the wheelchair instead of the Navy career,” he said.

But how he became involved with the PVA is a notable case. It illustrates that any veteran who is afflicted with a spinal cord injury, whether it was caused during combat or through other situations, even if it occurs after military service, is generally eligible to join the organization. That information is driven home by the group’s Executive Director Sherman Gillums Jr. in a published statement: “We are dedicated to ensuring that veterans who have suffered life-altering spinal cord injuries or diseases have the support and services they need to lead full and productive lives.”

There are at least two other charitable events the PVA makes available to the public, one on a one-off basis, and one on an ongoing basis. First, there is a raffle that includes a prize of March NASCAR tickets. The other is aimed at anyone who is seeking a new vehicle.

The organization has a preowned vehicle lot at 4000 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas, near U.S. Highway 95. It’s also a place where individuals can donate vehicles for a tax credit.

In addition to selling and taking in automobiles, the PVA, on occasion, sells airplanes. Kaminski said that they recently had two aircrafts for sale, and one individual purchased both of them. So if readers need to or fly or drive, the PVA can be reached at 702-646-0040.

Chuck N. Baker is a Purple Heart veteran of the Vietnam War and the host of “That’s America to Me” every Sunday at 7 a.m. on 97.1-FM.

Veteran uses talents to help other veterans

Robert Serge served in the United States Navy for 20 months as part of an ordnance laboratory test facility. As he puts it, “We designed harbor mines and stuff like that.”

Holistic treatments help many veterans

Last year in one of my columns, I briefly discussed holistic medicine and efforts that the Department of Veterans Affairs had been taking to include such treatments in its care of veterans. Since then, the VA has made some additional efforts to include nontraditional treatments.

Gallery helps veterans explore their feelings through art

Artist and businesswoman Chris Frausto used to reside in Boulder City and owned an art gallery here. It was located on a corner, so it was not considered unusual when she named it the Corner Gallery.

Burns’ Vietnam documentary explores ‘truths’ about war

The Vietnam War. The conflict is burned into the minds of millions of Americans — those who fought in it, civilians who lived through the 1960s, historians, journalists, photographers and filmmakers.

Vets’ families find compassion at home away from home

When veterans and active-duty military personnel need help, it’s very common for other veterans and service people to step up to lend their collective hands. Providing assistance to their fellow brothers and sisters is ingrained in the hearts and minds of America’s military culture.

Ex-Tunnel Rat appreciates ‘penthouse’ lifestyle

Boulder City is currently the home of a veteran whose name is “Fearless.” When someone’s name is “Fearless” it could either be a satirical reference, or it could mean that it’s someone who is in reality a very tough individual. In the case of Fearless Fredy King, it’s the latter definition.

USO helps military as they travel, return to civilian life

The general public knows the combination of letters “USO.” Many even know the type of work the USO is involved in. But if one were to ask those individuals what the letters stand for, and where the organization is located in Southern Nevada, the answer might just involve a blank stare unless the person being questioned is involved with the local military or veterans community.

Teacher’s brush with fame included astronaut

Veteran John Glenn was known by most Americans and indeed was internationally famous. Most Americans also know that Glenn died in December at age 95.

Honor Flight offers awe-inspiring experience

Many individuals, especially those who follow issues concerning veterans, have more than likely heard of the Honor Flight Network. The mission of the group is to honor select veterans, especially those who served in World War II, by taking them on all-expense-paid excursions to Washington, D.C., to visit military memorials.

Nevada celebrates veterans’ achievements

Southern Nevada resident and former Army Sgt. Richard “Dick” L. Moyer was presented with a Bronze Star Medal with a “V” for valor this month for his heroic efforts during the Vietnam War.