During the first week of March 2018, the Paralyzed Veterans of America conducted information seminars, met with members of Congress and their staffs, and testified regarding the health care and mobility needs of paralyzed and other disabled veterans. The events took place on Capitol Hill in Washington. D.C. and in Arlington, Virginia.
Participating in this advocacy work were Keystone Paralyzed Veterans (pictured in the photo left to right): Mark Rosensteel of Apollo, Pa., who also served in the Air Force; Christopher Fidler of Jonestown, Pa., an Army vet; and Bill Lightner of Hollidaysburg, Pa., also an Air Force veteran. Along with chapter Executive Director Joe Dornbrock, they visited the offices of each member of Congress, House and Senate, from Pennsylvania.
They emphasized the irreplaceable value of the specialized health care that the Veterans Healthcare Administration delivers to vets, and how that care is unduplicated and unsurpassed by private-sector care. They also advocated for expansion of VA-sponsored home health care, to reach more veterans at home and keep them from being having to be treated as inpatients until absolutely necessary.
The Keystone Paralyzed Veterans have “chapter hospital liaisons” in five VA medical centers in Pennsylvania, and all VA medical centers are visited by trained staff people known as national service officers (NSOs). They all work with VA leadership and staff to advance the health care that has extended the lifespan of the typical paralyzed veteran from their 40s right after World War II into their 70s today.
Rather than navigate the “Metro” or wait for shuttle service to get between the Capitol and their hotel, Keystone Paralyzed Veterans used a wheelchair-adapted Toyota Sienna minivan, donated by Toyota through Rohrich Toyota in Pittsburgh and modified by Keystone Coach Works of Bethel Park, to get around the Capital area. They navigated enough ground and traveled enough hallways without having to put up with a more complicated commute!