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Veterans Reporter: Paralyzed Veterans of Nevada helps those with spinal cord disabilities

From time to time I write about organizations that help veterans, and I usually note that there are so many such groups, perhaps they tend to overlap. In fact, there is often much overlap, but each major group does have a positive specialty of some type. This month I wish to honor the 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 adjusting 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, and ALS and quite a few different things. We try to make their lives as best as possible, and take them through the VA system and see that they are getting all their benefits,” Kaminski said.

The group is centered in Southern Nevada, but also reaches the northern portion of the state as well as into 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 North Las Vegas, the PVA will hold its annual “Run, Rock and Roll” 5K run or a 1k fun-walk event, which is open to the entire 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 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 explained. But how he became involved with the PVA is a notable case in point. It serves to illustrate 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 Executive Director of the PVA, 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 currently a raffle in which the prizes are March NASCAR tickets. Again, details can be found at NevadaPVA.org. But anyone who is seeking a new vehicle is urged to visit the Henderson PVA pre-owned vehicle lot at 4000 Boulder Highway at the corner of the U.S. Highway 95 freeway. It’s also a place where individuals can donate vehicles for a tax credit.

Of special interest, in addition to selling and taking in automobiles, the PVA on occasion sells airplanes. Kaminski said that they recently had two aircraft 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 an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and a Purple Heart recipient. Every other Sunday he discusses veterans’ issues over several Lotus Broadcasting AM radio stations in Southern Nevada.

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