Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America. Member chapter, Paralyzed Veterans of America, chartered by the Congress of the United States

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1 Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America Member chapter, Paralyzed Veterans of America, chartered by the Congress of the United States Volume XI, Issue 2 March-April 2013 President Frederick J. Tregaskes Vice President James E. Riemer Secretary-Treasurer William D. Jakovac Directors Jerry Baylor Chris Fidler George M. Neelan Gary M. Orlando, Sr. Tom Strang Benjamin M. Williams The PARASCOPE Toyota delivers new chapter van Executive Director Joseph W. Dornbrock Advocacy Director vacant Legislative Director Frederick J. Tregaskes Hospital Liaison Coordinator Gary M. Orlando, Sr. Membership Officer Tom Strang Service Director Bill Jakovac Sports Director Jerry Baylor Volunteer Coordinator Agnes Strang National Director James E. Riemer National Service Officers Chris Jenkins, NSO Darlene Mead, Secretary 1000 Liberty Ave., Rm Pittsburgh PA Phone Toll free Fax Lisa Langrehr, Sr. NSO Violet A. Graham, Secretary 5000 Wissahickon Avenue Philadelphia PA Phone Toll free On a snowy day at the Keystone Chapter s office in Sharpsburg, Pa., four members of the Board of Directors, (left to right) Bill Jakovac, Jim Riemer, Jerry Baylor, and Ben Williams, showed off the new, adapted Sienna van donated by Toyota. More about the chapter s new transportation program starts on page 2. We want to see you in April! Open House Friday, 12 April, at the chapter office, 1113 Main Street, Sharpsburg (Pittsburgh PA 15215). More on page 8. Membership Meeting Saturday, 13 April, 12 noon, at the Butler (primary meeting site), Erie, Altoona and Lebanon VA Medical Centers. Details on the back page. Boston Trail 5K Run/Walk/Roll Saturday, 20 April, at the Boston (PA 15135) Trail Head, just south of McKeesport, Pa. Members: Keystone PVA will pay your entry fee! Check page 6 for more details. Go to for: E Vocational rehabilitation information E Forms and publications that you can download E Schedules of events and meetings

2 Reports of the Officers and Directors Vice President s and National Director s Reports..... Jim Riemer 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa, Fla. Preparations for the wheelchair games in Tampa are underway. We have 19 members who have requested chapter sponsorship to the Games and one therapist from the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System attending as a coach. There have been several changes to the Games this year. This year a Senior Division has been added for veterans over 60 years old. For purposes of how many events an athlete can enter, field events --- shot put, discus & javelin --- will be considered as one event and all of the track events will be counted as a single event. Counting in this manner allows the five-event limit to be reached with more participation in the individual track-and-field events The future of the Games past Tampa this year is uncertain. The bid to host the 34th NVWG in San Juan, Puerto Rico in 2014 was not approved by PVA s partner, the Department of Veterans Affairs, due to recent policy changes and new meeting guidelines. Toyota Sienna Minivan On February 5, several chapter members traveled to Rohrich Toyota in Pittsburgh to receive the Toyota Sienna Van that the chapter won as part of Toyota s 100 Cars for Good charitable program. The DAV has supplied vans to the Department of Veterans Affairs to transport veterans to their appointments; however, the vans are not equipped with wheelchair lifts, and not all veterans qualify for this transportation. With our new Toyota van, which is equipped with a wheelchair ramp, the chapter will be able to create a transportation program to ensure our members and other veterans in wheelchairs will have transportation to their appointments in Allegheny County, to start with. We hope to be able to expand the program later. Butler VA Medical Center In conversation with the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Coordinator and the SCI Physician, they ve told me everything is going well at the Butler VAMC and at present there are no issues needing attention. They were scheduling annual SCI examinations for two veterans on the fourth Monday of the month; however, due to an increase in requests for SCI annual exams they have had to schedule additional appointments. I have talked with the Rehabilitation Manager about the new Health Care Center adjacent to the VAMC campus and reviewed the plans for the SCI clinic area which includes a 12 x14 examination room on the first floor in the area of the Outpatient Rehab Clinics along with an outpatient veterans fitness area. Hydrotherapy, which will accommodate four wheelchairs, will also be located on the first floor. There will be a few parking spaces outside the main entrance that will be marked Side-Lift Van Parking Only. Plans are being reviewed by the Butler VAMC and the architects. Following their review, the plans will be sent to PVA s Architecture Department for review. Toyota delivers van for chapter The Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America remains surprised and most grateful to the Toyota Motor Company for its donation, through its Cars for Good contest, of a new Sienna minivan, modified to carry wheelchair users. The chapter took delivery of the van at Rohrich Toyota in the South Hills of Pittsburgh on 05 February. General Manager Mark Podrosky prepared a great reception for chapter members that included media coverage and Toyota regional officials. In addition to donating the van, Toyota paid for the wheelchair-accessibility features, which were done by Keystone Coach Works of Bethel Park, Pa. Rohrich Toyota and Keystone Coach Works both sweetened the deal with equipment maintenance and training for the chapter s drivers, all at no cost to the (Continued on page 3) Regular features in The Parascope for March-April 2013 Officers reports starting on 2 Program reports starting on 4 Bowling scores, page 4... Bingo dates, page 6 The Benefits Box Chapter points system Page 2 O The Parascope, March-April 2013 Membership programs Birthdays and Calendar Advertising in the Parascope American Thrift Center donations reminder Next Membership Meeting back page

3 Treasurer s Report Bill Jakovac Our audit has been completed by Sisterson & Co. LLP. An audit establishes that an organization is accurate in how it reports and conducts its finances. It also reviews the policies and procedures that are in place to maintain reporting accuracy and integrity. I am pleased to report that our audit showed we are indeed doing things right. Our audit results were published in our annual report. Our financial records are always available at our office. I went to Christ The Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall, Pa., to present an award to seventh grade student Julie Kryzsik. Julie was a finalist in the PVA National Essay Contest. She was presented a certificate and T-shirt from PVA President Bill Lawson. I invited Julie to attend the Aspinwall American Legion Memorial Day Observance where I will introduce her and present her with a certificate. Jean and I joined other Keystone PVA members in the presentation of our new adapted minivan at Rohrich Toyota in Pittsburgh. Although we did not make it on TV, we were on the WPXI website with a nice article and plenty of pictures. Joe Dornbrock drove it off the lot and back to the office. This van will help our members who need transportation to their annual exams. I am looking forward to the Advocacy/Legislation Seminar in Washington, D.C., to talk with our Senators and Congresspersons about The Independent Budget, which is the budget PVA and our partners (AMVETS, the VFW, and the DAV) recommend for VA health care. I have done this the previous two years and it is an important thing we do for our members and all veterans. I am registered to participate in this year s National Veterans Wheelchair Games, the Buckeye Wheelchair Games, and the Golden Age Games. I will also be bowling in a tournament in Erie. Locally and also near Lebanon, Pa., there are air rifle clinics to sharpen your skills. I encourage our members to get out and about and try a sport. The Veterans Art Show will be held at the H.J. Heinz campus of the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System in O Hara Township, Building 71, on May 22, Start now to prepare or finish your craft entries for this show. I have my three pieces ready to go. All of us have abilities and talents. Enter this contest. It is fun and it is free. Toyota delivers van for chapter (Continued from page 2) chapter. Keystone Coach Works and Toyota also made additional cash donations to the chapter, which will be used for the few costs that are left --- insurance and fuel, mostly. Now our need is for more drivers! Working with the SCI clinic in the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, we have been identifying chapter members who will need transportation for basic medical care appointments. With apologies to our members in other parts of Pennsylvania, we are starting with members in and near Allegheny County, Pa. (the Pittsburgh area) until we know what the demand for and range of our service will be. Volunteer drivers and potential riders should contact the chapter office, , for details. At the Rohrich Toyota showroom: Front row, left to right: Ed Shelpman and Don Shelpman Jr. of Keystone Coach Works; (back row, left to right) Joe Dornbrock, Rohrich Toyota General Manager Mark Podrosky, Bill Jakovac, Jim Riemer, Toyota District Sales Manager Jennifer Hill, Toyota Field Technical Specialist Kevin Baumgartner, and Toyota District Sales and Parts Manager James Simon. Keystone PVA is on Facebook --- The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 3

4 Sports and Recreation Report Jerry Baylor, Sports Director Fishing and hunting reports are by Tom Strang, Associate Sports Director. Central Pa./Lebanon event information is from Chris Fidler. Bowling results are from Jim Riemer, who also coordinates chapter participation in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. The chapter is involved in many sports activities that can provide good opportunities for you to enjoy yourself, have some exercise, and meet nice people. For example, the 33rd National Veterans Wheelchair Games are not far away. On July 12 we will travel to Tampa, Florida to engage with our fellow members and test our own capabilities. The Buckeye Chapter of PVA will be hosting an Air Rifle & Air Pistol competition as part of their Buckeye Wheelchair Games to be held May 16-18, 2013 at SPIRE Institute, Geneva, Ohio. Applications are online at click on Sports, click on Sports Forms. In order to compete you must join Wheelchair & Ambulatory Sports, USA, (WASUSA). Forms are available at The quad rugby season is winding down but we continue to practice as the Sectionals are continuing in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Tournaments are complete. I have been working on our Fathers Day Bass Tournament that takes place Sunday, June 16, So far, Eagle Claw has donated three Rick Clunn signature rods for prizes. See the flyer on page 11. We have two races coming up April 20, both on the same day; one at Roaring Run Trail in Apollo and one on the Mon Yough Trail. Another 5K Race takes place at Roaring Run Trail in Apollo on July 13 in the evening at dusk. It seems to me the more I do, the more I find to do; and any help I can provide for you, I will, please ask. You can reach me by phone at or send to me at Hunting & Fishing Tom Strang, Associate Sports Director To date, I have received two requests for information about handicapped hunting or fishing events. Jerry Baylor and I are working on plans for the Keystone PVA Bass Tournament on the Monongahela River on June 16, 2013, see flyer on page 11. Recent reported deer hunting results: Phillip Allen Doe South Fayette Handicapped Deer Hunt Ed Leeper Doe Wounded Warriors, Washington Co. Robert Morris Doe Wounded Warriors, Washington Co. Tom Strang 8-Point Buck Washington County Dominic Dorazio Doe Washington County Jeremy Sensky 4-Point Buck Washington County April 27 to May 18, 2013 Wounded Warrior Spring Turkey Hunts The turkey hunts are held on Wounded Warrior-leased hunting property in Washington County near Eighty-Four, Pa. To hunt season Keystone PVA bowling scores Page 4 O The Parascope, March-April 2013 with the Wounded Warriors you must join their organization. Wounded Warriors also hold their meetings at the leased property on the last Sunday of the month at 11:30a.m. For more information, call President Jeff Curtis at the Wounded Warriors office, June, July, and August 2013 Wounded Warriors and Paralyzed Veterans Fishing Wounded Warriors have their own pontoon boat which replaces the event Fishing for Fun on the Mon. The boat is docked at the West Brownsville American Legion Post 940, 800 Middle Street, West Brownsville, PA Members are welcome to fish on the boat and at the beginning of June give Wounded Warriors President, Jeff Curtis a call at so he can set up a date for you. (Continued on page 6) Want to bowl? Contact Bull Baylor at or Jim Riemer at Reported as of February 2013 High High High Game Series Average Strikes Games Average Bill Jakovac Jim Riemer Mark Rosensteel

5 The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 5

6 Hunting & Fishing events from page 4 Sunday, June 16, th Annual Keystone PVA Bass Tournament The place is the American Legion Post 940 Marina in West Brownsville. Check-in is at 5:30 a.m. The registration fee for members is $30, however, your check will be returned to you when you arrive. Disabled anglers will be paired with ablebodied boat partners by random public drawing. Trophies and prize money will be awarded to winning teams. There will be fishing prizes for all. Following weigh-in, participants will be treated to a barbeque. Application deadline is June 1, Saturday, 20 April 2013 Registration until 8:30 a.m.; half-marathon begins at 9:00 a.m., all others start at 9:15 a.m. Location: Boston Trail Head, 1902 Donner Street, McKeesport (Elizabeth Twp.) PA The Mon-Yough Trail Council and its primary sponsor, the Jefferson Regional Medical Center, have opened the 3rd Annual Boston Trail Half-Marathon & 5K Run/Walk to rollers. Hand cyclists have already rolled in this race, which attracts serious competitive athletes and those who just wish to enjoy a great early spring day. Keystone PVA will reimburse the entire $20 (early bird, to 01 April) or $25 (after 01 April) entry fee to any of its life members or associate members who participate, whether you are a wheelchair user or not. If you are not a member, but you are a wheelchair user, we d like to get you to try this, so if you participate, we ll refund $15 of your entry fee. To be reimbursed, send a copy of your registration form, filled out, to the office after the race. After we confirm your participation with the Mon-Yough Trail Council, we ll send you your No points are required for these fun fishing events, but a valid Pennsylvania fishing license is required. Keep your receipt as Keystone PVA will reimburse you for your fishing and hunting license. Next bingo dates at the Lebanon VAMC Building 18 Social Room, all at 7 p.m.: 2013: Thursday, 28 March Thursday, 16 May Saturday, 20 July Tuesday, 17 September Saturday, 23 November All veterans are welcome to attend. reimbursement. To get a form, call the Keystone Chapter office ( or ) or download it from the web site, On the form, mark 5K Run/Walk as the event you are entering. ENTER BY 02 APRIL FOR THE EARLY BIRD DISCOUNT FEE OF $20 (instead of $25). Ben Williams (left) and Rob Morris staffed the table at the Washington County Sportsmen s Show at the Washington Crown Center Mall in Washington, Pa. Exhibits like these have helped Keystone PVA positively raise its profile and inform the public of our need for more support from companies, foundations, and individuals. Only rarely does the chapter receive funds from government, and then, only for limited projects. Page 6 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

7 Director/Erie VAMC Site Leader/HLO Coordinator... Gary Orlando The many major and minor construction projects are going well and on schedule at the Erie VA Medical Center. One major and popular construction project, the new parking garage, has been postponed from this spring to FY2014. I am still waiting to hear the reason for this delay and will report it as soon as the reason for this change is explained to me. It was announced at the quarterly VAVS meeting, of all places. As far as I know, this is the only change. The few volunteers we have during the winter months are doing a great job and putting in many hours. It is appreciated by the patients and the residents in the Community Living Centers (CLCs). As I say in every article that I type, we need more volunteers. In the past year, we lost two volunteers. Unfortunately, one volunteer passed away unexpectedly and one volunteer moved away from the cold, snowy weather we have every winter and most springs. I would love to fill those two vacancies. If you have a few hours of free time, please give back to those who helped you when you were recovering from your traumatic injuries. It is the best non-paying job you will ever have. The Hospital Liaison program is going well in our Chapter. The HLOs and site leaders are doing their best to get their reports to me by the 23rd of each month in order to allow me to check the issues and still have enough time to type and forward the Chapter HLO report to our Field Advisory Council Point of Contact (FAC POC). The HLO program has been in existence for a little over a year now and a report has been sent every month. This is what National PVA is striving for from all 34 Chapters. As a new member of the FAC, I understand just how important the success and the participation of this program is to all SCI/D veterans. I am fortunate to have very caring site leaders and HLOs who truly care about the VAMC in their area. I only hope that there will be more training classes so that the other site leaders can attend and learn as much as Chris Fidler and I did when we went for our HLO training. I hope that all of those attending the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa this July have all of their paperwork in soon. I am relieved to have everything done so I can start on my exercise regimen and I am waiting for all the snow to melt so I can start my three-mile-a-day of pushing the wheelchair to shed my winter fat! Finally, I would like to welcome a new member, Gordon Geer, to the Keystone Chapter. I wish you the best as you become a member of the best chapter around! Director/Lebanon VAMC Site Leader/HLO Chris Fidler I m looking forward to the coming of spring. I have been one of the many victims of this years flu season, and I did everything I could to eat and stay healthy. One of the things I planned on doing before things went downhill was to take advantage of the pool and exercise areas in Building 24. You have to sign up as a member of the MOVE Program in order to use these facilities though. This program is designed to help you lose weight and keep it off, while learning to live a healthier lifestyle. Visits are co-pay exempt, and as a participant, you may enjoy the use of the VA Wellness Center and swimming pool to help you meet your weight loss goals, free of charge. For more information, call the Lebanon VA at , or , ext Van Zandt (Altoona) VAMC Site Leader/HLO Bill Lightner For those of you who might not have known, for the last couple of months I've been in and out of the hospital with double pneumonia and a broken femur. This last episode put me in the hospital for a little more than three weeks, where I ended up with a stage two pressure sore. Then I returned back to the Cleveland VA Medical Center for some much needed rehabilitation, and to finish getting fitted for a wheelchair. Now I am back home and back to my regular routine. The Altoona VAMC has plenty going on. The National Salute to Veterans Week was February 10 to 16 and went very well with visits from many different organizations. Players from the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pirates, and the Penn State football team came to visit along with the Altoona Curve baseball team mascots, the Pirate Parrot, and local TV personalities along with other groups. Most of the patients loved every minute of it. (Continued on page 10) The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 7

8 The Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America invites you to join us for our eighth annual OPEN HOUSE at our offices in Sharpsburg, Pennsylvania, at 1113 Main Street FRIDAY, 12 APRIL 2013 From 12 noon to 5 p.m. Stop in anytime! See the new Sienna minivan donated by Toyota and modified by Keystone Coach Works to transport wheelchair-using veterans to their medical appointments. Learn exactly who is eligible for Keystone Chapter-provided rides and who can volunteer to drive our vets. Food and beverages will be served starting at noon. Driving directions and parking information is on page 18. If you need additional information, please call the office at either phone number, or April is Paralyzed Veterans Awareness Month! Keystone PVA is a chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Page 8 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

9 F e Consolidation Building 29, room 1M109 PVA Poster and Essay Contest Keystone Chapter Treasurer Bill Jakovac (left) visited Christ The Divine Teacher Catholic Academy in Aspinwall, Pa., to present an award to seventh grade student Julie Kryzsik. Julie was a finalist in the PVA National Essay Contest. Bill also passed along a certificate and T-shirt from PVA President Bill Lawson. Keystone PVA member Rob Morris chairs this event and makes most of the school presentations to winners and finalists. He was busy this year, with 10 finalists and two winners, one from Holy Sepulcher School in Butler, Pa., and one from Colfax Elementary School in Springdale, Pa., part of the Allegheny Valley School District. Rob and his team have grown this project each year, with more entrants, more finalists, and more winners than the year before. The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 9

10 Easter bag project for hospitalized veterans is now underway By Agnes Strang, Volunteer Coordinator Keystone PVA, with the approval of National PVA, has planned another Easter Bag Program for our veterans in the western Pennsylvania VA hospitals. The bags are filled with much needed, non-perishable, personal care items. Children in several school districts creatively decorate 500 bags. Just prior to Easter we deliver the bags to our members and other hospitalized veterans. They have always been quite happy to receive these much needed items. In delivering these items we are rewarded by seeing the faces and hearing the sentiments from our veterans. Everyone benefits from this project: the veterans, the children, the families, those with no one, the volunteers who help package the bags, and certainly the donors who through their generosity help insure our veterans are remembered. If you are able to help our efforts and make a cash donation for the purchase of the personal care items such as shaving cream, deodorant, soap, shampoo, and socks, we would be most appreciative. Keystone PVA s volunteers purchase items that will be consistent in size and content. Our goal this year, as it has been in the past, is to fill 500 or more Easter bags. You can make your checks payable to Keystone PVA and mail your tax-deductible donations to Keystone PVA, 1113 Main Street, Pittsburgh PA Two of the bags decorated by grade school students and a sample of the items packed in the bags are shown here. Even if you receive this message after Easter, your support will help cover the costs of this valuable service to our hospitalized veterans. Van Zandt (Altoona) VAMC Site Leader/HLO (cont d from page 7).... Bill Lightner National Volunteer Week will be observed the week of April 15 to 21. The Volunteer Recognition Ceremony is tentatively scheduled to be held April 18, with an afternoon luncheon at the Duncansville VFW. The VA Volunteer Service (VAVS) Veterans Integrated Service Network 4 meeting is tentatively planned to be held in Altoona this summer. The organizers are asking that volunteers start thinking of activities, fundraisers, and donations for this meeting. We have a great need for volunteers to help with assignments including volunteer transportation drivers and making reminder phone calls to veterans for appointments for some clinic areas. We need assistance with the patient registration kiosks in clinic areas, and filing in the Fiscal Service Office. Recreation activities need volunteers, days, nights, evenings, and weekends to assist and/or run activities/pro- grams for the Community Living Center (CLC) residents. If you or someone you know is interested in any of these assignments contact the Volunteer Office for an appointment. If you have any suggestions, would like recruiting information, or would like to come and speak about volunteering and available assignments please let the volunteer office know. You can contact Cynthia Eaton, Volunteer Coordinator, at or The National Veterans Wheelchair Games will be held in Tampa, Florida July 12 to19, and will be here before you know it. Now that I m feeling better and back to my regular routine, I am beginning my preparation and practice regime for my participation and would suggest you all do the same. If you have any questions or need further information, you are welcome to contact me at or Page 10 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

11 10th ANNUAL Keystone PVA & Greene County BASSMASTERS TEAM BASS FISHING TOURNAMENT Sponsored by Paralyzed Veterans of America, Keystone PVA and Greene County Bassmasters A Team Tournament with one able-bodied boat captain and one disabled angler. SUNDAY 16 JUNE % Given back to the Fishing Teams 1st Place $ nd Place $ rd Place $ th Place $ th Place $ th Place $ th Place $ th Place $ st Big Bass $ nd Big Bass $ (One fisherman cannot have both big fish) Payout based on 20 boats To request an APPLICATION, RULES and LIMITATIONS, call the Keystone chapter office or Entry Fee, Boat Captain --- $20.00 Entry Fee, Disabled Angler --- $30.00 See time & location details below LOCATION American Legion Post Middle Street West Brownsville, PA Make checks payable to: Keystone PVA 1113 Main Street Pittsburgh, PA Disabled angler check in 5:30 to 6:00 a.m. Blast Off at 7:00 a.m. Weigh In at 2:00 p.m. Picnic after Weigh In Tom Strang, Associate Sports Director, Keystone PVA, Tournament Director: Larry Freeman, RULES AND LIMITATIONS APPLY Members are welcome, even if not competing. Come down for the weigh-in and the picnic! The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 11

12 VA benefits information for our members by PVA National Service Officer Thomas Ricks Based in Newark, New Jersey Veterans and mesothelioma There are U.S service members who dedicated their lives to our country who may be infected with a deadly disease. The disease is called Mesothelioma, which is a cancer that occurs in the mesothelial tissue and is commonly associated with asbestos exposure. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs approximately 25 million veterans who served in the United States military were exposed to toxic asbestos and contaminating materials during their military service. Elevated rates of asbestos-related diseases in veterans are alarmingly on the rise. Many veterans are victims of Mesothelioma. These veterans were exposed to asbestos over the last century and many have either already been diagnosed with or will be diagnosed with this deadly disease. Early warning signs and symptoms of Mesothelioma: Chest pain under the rib cage Shortness of breath Unexplainable weight loss Unusual lumps of tissue under the skin on your chest Persistent and painful coughing Fever Night sweats Some of the signs and symptoms listed above are often misdiagnosed as Influenza or pneumonia because they greatly resemble medical conditions associated with these two common viruses. The Department of Defense frequently used asbestos in various construction projects, primarily with insulation and fireproofing projects. In 1970, the military began decreasing the use of asbestos. Many years later it was discovered how dangerous this type of material was and could be to humans. Asbestos exposure proved greater for military veterans who worked in naval shipyards and on naval ships between 1930 and The VA recognizes Mesothelioma as a service-connected disability if exposure to asbestos is proven. Veterans are allowed to apply for serviceconnected disability compensation benefits from the Department of Veteran Affairs for asbestos-related diseases. Veterans must submit medical evidence showing a diagnosis and a medical nexus (physician statement) linking their disability to asbestos exposure while in the military. If a veteran cannot prove without a doubt that their exposure to this material is isolated and limited to their military service the request for service-connection benefits may be denied. There is another option for veterans who are denied service-connection benefits for this type of exposure; they can contact the asbestos manufacturer and request they pay for their medical care. There is a database of resources and information for anyone who has been diagnosed with this deadly disease. For more information please contact your local Paralyzed Veterans of America National Service Office or the Department of Veteran Affairs at Meet Chris Jenkins PVA National Service Officer Chris Jenkins Based in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Office We welcome a new member of the Keystone Chapter family. Chris Jenkins is the new National Service Officer in the Pittsburgh service office of Paralyzed Veterans of America. Chris replaced long serving NSO Dave Parkinson, who retired last month after more than twenty-five years of service to the Chapter. Chris is a disabled veteran and served with the Army in Vietnam. He has been helping veterans for more than twenty-three years. He started a program for single father veterans who have custody of their kids. He was awarded the Congressional Black Caucus U.S. Congress program award in 1999 for his efforts. He has also been involved with inner city youths in the area. Chris has been an NSO for the Military Order of the Purple Heart for over six years and served as a veterans service aid with them before that. Please take some time to welcome Chris to this chapter. He plans to attend the Membership Meeting April 13 in Butler. You can meet him there. He can be reached in his office at or where he works with Secretary Darlene Mead. Page 12 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

13 Update your hand controls!...drive with both hands on the wheel DARIOS let s you drive with both hands on the wheel Digital Accelerator Ring optimized for speed It s so comfortable! Just press the ring to accelerate. Brake with the left- or right-hand brake integrated in the dash- board. Your knee area remains free of metal parts. You maintain all adjustments of your steering column and all airbags including the knee- airbag remain functional. DARIOS adapts its sensitivity to the speed of your car. DARIOS uses 2 sensors inside the steering wheel to be compliant with car manufacturers safety standards. It sends the information from the ring to its main controller under the dashboard using digital signals to be immune to magnetic electro- noise. Users comments: I feel like I m in control of my vehicle again! The system appears a part of the original equipment of the vehicle. DARIOS is VA accepted. KEMPF features nationwide free at-home pick-up and delivery and at-home service. KEMPF is a NMEDA member. Visit: users accross across the country or to request a quotation. Call Toll-free: KEMPF-US ( ) for a free DVD and free brochure. The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 13

14 No More Prosthetics Delays: Time For Action! By Sherman Gillums, Associate Executive Director of Veterans Benefits, Paralyzed Veterans of America Two years ago, when a veteran received a customized wheelchair, porch lift, or some other durable medical equipment from VA prosthetics, chances are the consult or request went from a clinician or therapist to a prosthetics purchase agent, who either put out a competitive bid to vendors or ordered from a reliable major vendor, such as Invacare or Sunrise Medical. While the process was not 100 percent flawless, the veteran generally received the life-critical items without excessive delay. So when the VA decided to transition how it acquires prosthetics by placing limits on the use of Title 38 authority and open more government contract opportunities to veteran-owned and small businesses, it would foreseeably and disproportionately impact PVA members, most of which rely on high-cost prosthetics more than any other segment of the veteran population. Before getting into the details of the new policy and its impacts, readers should fully understand Title 38 authority and what it means to limit its application. Title 38 of the United States Code, section 8123, grants VA authority to procure prosthetics and services in any manner the Secretary may determine to be proper without regard to any other provision of law. When exercising this authority VA may procure prosthetic appliances and necessary services required by purchase, manufacture, contract, or in such other manner as the Secretary [of VA] may determine to be proper [emphasis added]. Why is this important for PVA members to understand? This flexibility was granted to ensure that veterans with disabling conditions received devices and supplies that met their clinical needs. It also permitted VA to limit bidding competition when physicians require specific devices or equipment for patient care. The Federal Acquisition Register and VA Acquisition Register, the primary directives for the procurement of VA prosthetics, further sanction this intent. (Continued on page 15) Page 14 O The Parascope, March-April 2013 Purpose The Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) primary goal has been to assist its members and their families in improving the quality of their lives. This goal has been addressed through a variety of activities, including the establishment of the Educational Scholarship Program. This program assists PVA members and their immediate family members by providing scholarship funds to help with a post-secondary education. PVA will award scholarships in the amount of $1,000 to full-time students and $500 to part-time students for an academic year. Eligibility Applicant must be either a PVA member, the spouse of a PVA member, or an unmarried child (under 24 years of age) who is dependent (as defined by the IRS) on the member for principal support. Applicant must be a citizen of the United States. Applicant must be accepted and enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in an accredited US college or university. Previous award recipients may apply. Submission Process Individuals who wish to apply for the scholarship program can download the application at or request an application be mailed to them via phone (800) Ext. 776, or via Completed applications MUST be returned to PVA NO LATER THAN June 17, Late applications will not be accepted, no exceptions. In addition, any incomplete applications will not be considered. For more details, please visit

15 No More Prosthetics Delays (cont d from page 6) What has seemingly happened though is a decreased emphasis on the needs of veterans in order to meet small business quotas and cut budget corners. As the Veterans Health Administration continues updating its policies and directives to guide clinical and procurement staff on the interpretation of Section 8123, PVA s concern is whether the intent of the statute will reflect a shift from a focus on patients to price tags, and veterans will see more and more instances of delayed or denied prosthetics orders. Now if this new process works as intended, a consult or prescription submitted by a service provider goes to the local prosthetics purchase agent. If the cost exceeds the statutory micro-purchase limit of $3,000 (as most customized wheelchairs, patient lifts, etc. do), the request is forwarded to a network contracting agent. The contracting agent will solicit bids from vendors, the vendor will deliver the product, and the veteran can get on with life. The order seamlessly moves through the process in a timely manner. The clinical details of the order do not get questioned or modified by contract representatives bearing no clinical expertise. The chosen vendor is capable of meeting the time and spec requirements of the bid. That is what is supposed to happen under the new process. But here is what actually happened to a couple of PVA members: A veteran with terminal, service-connected ALS (Lou Gehrig s Disease) and his elderly wife were prescribed a whole house generator in order to keep his ventilator working in the event of a power outage. VA prosthetics delayed the request by referring it to a Major Medical Equipment Committee, which demanded that the veteran produce 4 years of records from the electric company and his spouse s health records to substantiate the claim. PVA sought the intervention of the VISN Director, after which the request was immediately approved. The same veteran was later prescribed an artificial ventilator but died 10 days after the equipment order was submitted. Records show the prosthetics chief sat on the request for a week, deciding whether she should rent or buy the equipment. When questioned, she answered there are no established timeframes for procurement and delivery of such devices in instances of terminal illness. A veteran with quadriplegia had his power chair ordered on August 15, 2012 by an SCI physical therapist. VA medical notes show that the order sat idle for about 4 weeks before being sent to the VISN contract office. The responsible contract representative sought three vendor bids then inexplicably closed the order after receiving none. The NSO contacted the VISN Prosthetics Representative (VPR) to find out why the order was delayed. The VPR attributed the breakdown to miscommunication between the VAMC and contracting, after which she directed her staff to bypass the system to procure the wheelchair locally. Two more orders were discovered to have similarly sat for 3-4 weeks before submission to contracting. Stories such as these are becoming more common around the country. Although larger procurements like powered wheelchairs and porch lifts represent a small percentage of the total workload for the VA, they also represent the most critical equipment needed by the majority of PVA's members. Delays in these procurements prove costly to both the government, in terms of unnecessarily extended hospital stays while awaiting equipment, and to veterans, in terms of lost independence and quality of life. Disheartening is the fact that PVA saw this coming and voiced these concerns to VA leadership well before the changes to the process were implemented. As predicted, the process has become broken for far too many veterans who depend on prosthetics items to function. In response, PVA has embarked upon a concerted, nationwide effort to aggressively confront these delays and make the case to VA leaders that immediate action must be taken to fix it. In order to do this, we need to track how often delays occur and tell the personal stories of the consequences. Thus, PVA members should immediately notify their local PVA National Service Officer of delays in the receipt of major prosthetics items, particularly when they result in longer hospital stays. Members may also notify the Veterans Benefits Department National office by phone at (TTY: ) or by at The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 15

16 KEYSTONE PVA POINTS SYSTEM To be eligible for chapter sponsorship to the National Veterans Wheelchair Games and other recreational programs, a member may earn points by participating in these activities. Sponsorship by the chapter requires 12 points per EACH event. Attendance at a Keystone PVA membership meeting Attendance at a Keystone PVA membership activity, e.g., Easter Bag distribution, Fish for Fun, Kennywood Picnic, Annual Awards Banquet Return SCI Survey following Annual SCI Appointment Volunteer at a V.A. Hospital (4 hours or more) Volunteer for Keystone PVA (4 hours or more) Work out at V.A. or Rehab center with coach or therapist Participate in a Keystone PVA sponsored sports or recreational activity, e.g., bowling, fishing, hunting, trapshoot, etc. Sign up a regular voting member Represent Keystone PVA at community functions, e.g., Sharing and Caring, Soldiers & Sailors,United Cerebral Palsy, Veteran Support Groups Ride, walk or roll in a Veterans Day Parade 3 points 2 points 2 points 2 points 2 points 1 point 1 point 2 points 2 points 3 points AMembers are required to attend at least one Membership Meeting prior to attending a sponsored event. ATo receive credit for mileage, volunteer time & points, member MUST forward a Time Sheet---Volunteer Program Report (formerly titled the Keystone PVA Volunteer Expense Voucher ) and an After Action Report to the chapter office by the close of business on the 7th day of the following month. If the office is closed on the 7th, expense vouchers are due by the close of business the next working day. AAll volunteers at the VA Medical Centers must complete volunteer training and receive a volunteer ID card. The volunteer hours MUST be in the name of PVA. Volunteer is responsible for forwarding the monthly VA Volunteer by Organization Report (VS26) to the chapter office by the end of the following month to receive travel expenses. For more comprehensive information on chapter programs, refer to Operations Manual Section 8, which was sent to every member. You can access Ops Man Section 8 on the chapter web site, or by calling the office. MEMBERSHIP PROGRAMS A All receipts submitted for reimbursement must be dated within the Chapter s current fiscal year, 01 October---30 September. A The Chapter has an annual picnic at Kennywood Amusement Park and an Annual Awards Banquet. A Keystone PVA will reimburse voting members for their annual resident hunting license, with a limit of one (1) Antlerless Deer License annually. Member must send a copy of all licenses and a receipt to obtain reimbursement. The cost of a resident fishing license will be reimbursed. Members may also be reimbursed for their membership dues for sports club memberships. A Member Recreation Reimbursement Fund. Keystone PVA will reimburse voting members up to $100 for attending any recreational event one time during the fiscal year or until the fund is depleted. Member must send receipts within 30 days of the event to the chapter office including a short description of the outing; good photos appreciated. A The Chapter currently has a weekly bowling league available to members as a recreational activity and to practice for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games (NVWG). Scores are in the newsletter and awards will be presented at the Chapter annual banquet. The Chapter may also reimburse members for other activities offered at the NVWG such as trapshooting and archery. A Reimbursement for hunting, trapshooting and fishing programs that Keystone PVA supports or sponsors. A Members that accumulate 12 points or more by attending membership meetings, attending Chapter functions, volunteering at VA medical centers, etc., qualify to participate in the Keystone PVA Sports and Recreation Program. A All program expenses must be approved by the Keystone PVA Board of Directors. Page 16 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

17 HAPPY BIRTHDAYS! April 01 Robert Christman 02 Theresa Crow 03 Mona Gutshall 04 John Nesby 04 William Rector 08 Frank Steck 08 Henry Wooding 09 David Minnis 09 Fred Tregaskes 10 Clair R. Keyser 10 Richard Mazzur 11 Ronald R. Shepherd 12 Stanley Adams 12 Robert Vinansky 13 Danny P. Cullen 16 Kenneth Lott 19 Edward Bosak 21 Alicia Pastva 23 Robert Coret 23 Wayne Miller 24 Carl Shenk, Jr. 24 Suzanne Zeff 26 Daniel Cillo 26 Tara Lightner 26 George Murph Neelan 27 Richard Ruffner 27 Phillip Williams PHOTO CREDITS, taken or provided by: Tori Mistick, Marketing with Style, page 3; Ben Williams, page 6; Bill Jakovac, page 9; Agnes Strang, page 10; and PVA, page 12. All other editorial photos by Keystone PVA staff. PHOTO SUBMISSIONS WELCOME. Must be sent or delivered in electronic format. Must include caption information. Delivery to Keystone PVA gives it the right to use as it deems fit. Due to issues of quality and quantity, we cannot guarantee all submissions can be used. ADVERTISING in THE PARASCOPE The Parascope is published bi-monthly. Deadline for submission of advertising is the 15th day of the month prior to the cover date. Example: Advertising for the issue for January-February will be due no later than 15 December. CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: The charge is $20.00 for 15 words (each additional word is $.35). Your name and address or phone number counts as five words. CONTACT THE OFFICE FOR PAYMENT TERMS REGULAR MEMBERS of Keystone PVA qualify for up to a quarter-page advertisement free of charge. Members ads larger than a quarter-page will be half the price of the regular page. DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES: SIZE OF AD 1/8 page 1/4 page 1/2 page Full page If we missed your birthday, let us know! Give us a ring at the chapter office, , if you spot an error. Many happy wishes to all our members, associates, and volunteers! 30 Nathan Dozier 30 Nick Gallick 30 Keith Stephens May 01 Dennis Haines 01 James L. McCracken, Jr. 03 Stanley Pugh 04 Frederick A. Fox One issue $ $ $ $ Three issues $ $ $ $ David Kleinfelter Sr. 04 William Reese 05 Floyd Thompson 06 Jamie Gandert 06 Donald Vollmer 07 Bernard Hoffman 09 Scott Musgrove 09 Paul Wentworth 10 Arthur Bartman 11 Ronald Murhon 12 Theresa Derr 12 David Kopka 14 Lawrence Peters 15 Ernest Clark 17 Richard Lang 17 William Siebert 19 Harry Bressler 19 Jean Jakovac 19 William McConnell 20 Marilyn Radatz 22 Steven Roth 22 Jeremi Sensky 24 Bryan Carper 24 Deborah Dragoone 24 Leroy Lamb 25 Elizabeth Tonarelli 27 Frank Lechnar 30 George Ollila Six issues $ $ $ $ The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 17

18 Membership Report Tom Strang, Membership Officer We welcome new life members Daniel W. Hika, New Kensington, Pa., Navy Gordon C. Geer, Wattsburg, Pa., Navy and we mourn the passing of our members Wilbert Sudduth, Pittsburgh, Pa. Robert P. McCombs, Leighton, Pa. The February 9 Membership Meeting was held at the Keystone office near Pittsburgh and at the Altoona, Erie, and the Lebanon VA Medical Centers, all linked by conference phone. Approximately 28 people attended. Reports were given by chapter officers and a few topics were discussed including: the 2013 National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa Florida, the new Toyota minivan, and the Easter Bag program. All site leaders gave their Hospital Liaison reports. The primary site for the next Membership Meeting on Saturday, 13 April 2013 will be the Butler VAMC, 325 New Castle Road, Butler, PA, ; also by teleconference with other sites; details are on the back cover. Remember to call the office if you plan to attend. MEMBERSHIP TOTALS AS OF 28 FEBRUARY 2013 Service connected 143 Non-service connected 147 TOTAL 290 Annual Associate Members 24 Lifetime Associate Members 59 TOTAL 83 UNDELIVERABLE --- MIA Have you seen or know the whereabouts of the following member? He may be dropped from the PVA Membership Roster unless we can find him. Please call us, write or the chapter office if you are able to help. Contact information for the chapter is on the back page. Henry Wooding Directions and parking for the Keystone PVA Open House, Friday, 12 April 2013 (see page 8 for more) DIRECTIONS Sharpsburg is along the north bank of the Allegheny River, just six miles northeast of downtown Pittsburgh. Main Street in Sharpsburg is usually easily accessed from Pa. Route 28 (a.k.a. the Allegheny Valley Expressway), but allow a few extra minutes for construction. Heading towards Pittsburgh on Route 28 South: Use the Highland Park Bridge off ramp by bearing left from the left lane. (SLOW DOWN for the turns!) Then immediately bear right. The ramp will take you to Main Street; once on Main Street proceed approximately a mile. The 13th & Main parking lot will be on your right; the Keystone PVA building will be on your left, a half-block beyond. Heading out of Pittsburgh on Route 28 North: Use the Sharpsburg off ramp by bearing right from the right lane. Stop, then continue through the intersection at the bottom of the ramp. The road will bear right and become Main Street. Continue a half-mile. The Keystone PVA building will be on your right, the 13th & Main parking lot will be on your left, a block beyond. PARKING Keystone PVA has a parking lot next to the building, but it has relatively few spaces, almost all of which are designated for handicapped van parking. There is a municipal parking lot at the corner of 13th and Main Streets, just a half-block from our offices on the other side of the street. You may also find nearby parking on Main Street, especially west of our offices toward the retail district of Sharpsburg. We apologize for any inconvenience the lack of closer parking may create, and thank you for keeping the handicapped van lot open. If you have special needs for parking, please call the office. WILL YOU ATTEND? You are welcome to bring guests. Call us at if you need additional information. We look forward to seeing you! MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY Lifetime membership is free and there are no dues required for qualified veterans who apply to the Chapter for membership. Our newsletter no longer includes a membership application, but you can download one from or just call the office, or Life membership in the PVA is available to any U.S. citizen who served on Active Duty in the Armed Forces of the United States and who sustained spinal cord dysfunction because of traumatic injury or disease. Separation from military service must have been under other than dishonorable conditions. The Life Member receives all benefits according to the Bylaws of the Chapter of record and has equal voting rights with the other members. The Life Member is also entitled to attend Chapter meetings, hold office at the Chapter and National levels and receive PN Magazine, chapter publications and bulletins from the National Office. In order to hold office, however, the Life Member must receive certification from PVA s National Secretary. Page 18 O The Parascope, March-April 2013

19 Have you seen me? I m the American Thrift Center s donation box. My brothers and sisters and I are located in southwestern Pennsylvania in public places with a lot of traffic, such as the parking lots of Toys R Us on William Penn Highway in Monroeville and Sam s Club in North Fayette Township just off the Airport Parkway (I-376). An updated list of donation box locations is on our web site, When you deposit gently-used clothes or small household goods with us, American Thrift turns your donations into financial support for the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Keystone Chapter, which provides support and programs for paralyzed vets in Pennsylvania. If you are in the Pittsburgh area, you can also call American Thrift at the numbers in the column at the right to arrange for a pickup of larger items. And by all means visit the American Thrift Center to shop smart! Tell a friend that donating is a great way to recycle items that can still be used when you do your spring cleaning! AMERICAN THRIFT CENTER Quality Pre-Owned Merchandise Village Shopping Center 1806 Homeville Road West Mifflin, PA or The American Thrift Center has been a professional fundraiser for Keystone PVA since Keystone PVA members are cordially invited to visit our store. Lifetime voting members: Present your PVA membership card and receive a 50% discount on all purchases. Also, by donating items to the American Thrift Center you are supporting Keystone PVA! NATIONAL SERVICE OFFICERS: Western Pennsylvania: Chris Jenkins, Pittsburgh, Eastern Pennsylvania: Lisa Langrehr, Philadelphia, Western New York: Michael Kruse, Buffalo, Eastern New York: Brenda Vasquez-Alvarez, New York City, New Jersey: Thomas Ricks, Newark, More people who help make Keystone PVA work! Office Manager: Diane V. Byrnes Administrative Assistant: Jeanne M. Keenan Webmaster: Craig Schenker Counsel: Eric Davis, Esq. Auditor: Sisterson & Co., CPAs The Parascope, March-April 2013 O Page 19

20 Paralyzed Veterans of America 1113 Main Street, Pittsburgh, PA Phone or Fax To: NON PROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. POSTAGE PAID PITTSBURGH PA PERMIT #389 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED VA MEDICAL CENTERS James E. Van Zandt VAMC 2907 Pleasant Valley Boulevard Altoona, PA William D. Lightner VAVS Representative John Lightner Deputy Rep. Butler VAMC 325 New Castle Road Butler, PA Jim Riemer VAVS Representative Dave Patton Deputy Rep. Fred Tregaskes Deputy Rep. Erie VAMC 135 E. 38th Street Erie, PA Gary Orlando VAVS Representative John Larese Deputy Rep. Lebanon VAMC 1700 S. Lincoln Avenue Lebanon, PA Chris Fidler VAVS Representative Ken Walters Deputy Rep. VA Pgh. Healthcare System University Drive campus University Drive C Pittsburgh, PA Highland Drive Campus 7180 Highland Drive Pittsburgh, PA Tom Strang Deputy Rep. H. John Heinz III campus 1010 Delafield Road Pittsburgh, PA Tom Strang VAVS Representative Jerry Baylor Deputy Rep. Ben Williams Deputy Rep. The next Keystone PVA MEMBERSHIP MEETING will be held on SATURDAY, 13 APRIL 2013 (Lunch 12 noon; meeting 12:45 p.m.) at the Butler VA Medical Center 325 New Castle Rd., Butler PA (primary site) and by PVA conference bridge with the Altoona, Erie and Lebanon VA Medical Centers. RSVP by 05 April to or The mission of Keystone Paralyzed Veterans of America is to improve the quality of life of paralyzed veterans by l Encouraging and supporting spinal cord injury and disease research; l Improving access to health care and other veterans benefits; l Assisting in the expansion of opportunities in wheelchair sports and recreation; and l Advocating for the rights of disabled people, including the reduction and elimination of barriers to accessibility and mobility. For your information Keystone PVA receives the overwhelming majority of its funding from contributions made by the general public. It is with these contributions that we are able to continue supporting SCI/D research, provide programs for, and advocate for the many needs of paralyzed veterans. Articles published in The Parascope, even by officers and directors, do not necessarily reflect the views of the Keystone Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. Keystone PVA neither endorses nor guarantees any of the products or services described or mentioned in The Parascope.

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