The Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America (MPVA) is one of 34 chapters of the Washington, D.C.-based Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA). As a veterans service organization, the MPVA has been assisting veterans with spinal-cord injuries and disease, including Multiple Sclerosis, and ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) in Michigan since 1961.
Government Relations and Advocacy
The MPVA works to combine the expertise and experience to ensure that the needs of our members (paralyzed veterans, and all individuals with disabilities) are included in policy debates at the local, state, and national level so that all citizens with disabilities receive the benefits and rights they deserve. Some of our key services in the Government Relations and Advocacy Program include:
- Acting as a consultant to help promote and advocate for barrier-free design that would be considered accessible to all.
- Supporting civil rights issues by working with elected officials so that they can best understand the ADA law.
- Teaching individuals with disabilities to advocate on their own behalf so that they can become a more powerful voice in their community.
As recently as 2006, the MPVA’s Government Relations and Advocacy work became widely recognized when the MPVA teamed up with Comerica Park to ensure that the Detroit Tiger Baseball Club home field had cup holders in their wheelchair accessible seating areas. In addition, The 2008 University of Michigan Football Season was kicked off with an exciting transformation as the stadium introduced fully accessible wheelchair seating to their fans due to a landmark agreement between The University of Michigan, Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Michigan Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Veterans Benefits Department
The MPVA works to assist Michigan veterans with free services in filing or re-filing for claims for VA benefits. Through the MPVA’s Veterans Benefits Department, the MPVA is able to provide services from USDVA Medical Centers in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Battle Creek. Please visit the “Resources” portion of this website, to find out how to contact your local VA Medical Center.
The MPVA has various means to communicate with Michigan residents. Those that we are most recognized for are:
- The Rollin Times: a newsletter that is published and sent to all MPVA members and friends six times a year. This publication updates and educates the public on important issues facing the disability and veteran community. It also provides information on upcoming MPVA events.
- The Pump Guide: an interactive website that allows disabled drivers to locate gas stations that are able to provide full service gas assistance at self-service pricing. Visit www.ThePumpguide.com to learn more about this important MPVA service.
- A proud sponsor of the PBS television program “A Wider World”: the MPVA works to support important messages, like those that the PBS Television Show “A Wider World” (formerly known as “Disabilities Today”), advocates for throughout Michigan and the Nation. The show, which focuses on the positives aspects of the disability world, routinely recognizes issues that are in direct relationship with the MPVA’s mission.
Sports and Recreation
The MPVA has always recognized wheelchair sports as a powerful tool for rehabilitation and social interaction for our members and others with disabilities. MPVA offers both indoor and outdoor activities throughout Michigan and participants vary in age, ability, and experience.
The MPVA even sponsors large-scale events like the Detroit Free Press “Wheelchair/Hand Cycle Division,” the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, and the Athletes with Disabilities Hall of Fame.
Some of MPVA sports include: wheelchair basketball, power soccer, sled hockey, hunting, and fishing.
Research and Education
MPVA supports the development and treatment of those with spinal-cord injuries and dysfunction. Ultimately, MPVA’s Research and Education program is dedicated to supporting a cure for spinal-cord dysfunction (SCD) and enhance the quality of life for those with SCD until a cure is found. The MPVA works with to teach students at various levels of schooling on the variables of spinal-cord injuries and helps to fund several scholarships for Michigan students who are working to obtain degrees in nursing, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Nationally, PVA is one of the top supporters of spinal-cord research, giving more than $3 million in the last 10 years.