For the second year in a row, 4Patriots donated a variety of items to the Wisconsin chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America for their fundraiser auction. Scott Griffith, the organization’s Chief Operating Officer, said 4Patriots products are “always a fan favorite with the military demographic.”
One of the many tragedies of war has always been paralysis suffered by soldiers defending their country. Service members who return from war with spinal cord injuries face incredible challenges.
Americans have always been grateful for their service, but until recently society had not yet prepared for the many needs these paralyzed soldiers would have.
So, some of those heroes from World War II – determined to live with dignity back in their home country – established Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA) in 1946.
To this day, the organization is dedicated to serving veterans. As well as to medical research, advocacy and civil rights for all people with disabilities.
PVA’s mission is to change lives and build brighter futures for seriously injured heroes. That mission has resulted in the empowerment of our brave men and women who are regaining what they fought for: their freedom and independence.
4Patriots contributes to PVA fundraiser
In September 2022, the Wisconsin chapter of PVA hosted its annual Membership Banquet fundraiser in which 4Patriots was proud to contribute for the second consecutive year. The event, held in Racine, Wisconsin, included a live auction, silent auction and raffle baskets.
We donated a Patriot Power Cell, 72-Hour Survival Food Kit, HaloXT Tactical Flashlight and Personal Water Filter for the event’s auction.
“Your products were a sought-after basket, trust me,” said Scott Griffith, a PVA volunteer for seven years and currently serving as Chief Operation Officer and government relations director for the Wisconsin branch. It’s the only veteran 501(c3) in Wisconsin to maintain a four-star rating from Charity Navigator.
“Your preparedness items are always a fan favorite with the military demographic.” Scott said he originally discovered 4Patriots when an ad popped up on his Facebook feed. He said he immediately recognized the survival items as “cool products our audience would enjoy.”
8th generation combat soldier stricken with paralysis
If anyone was predestined to be a member of the U.S. military, it was Scott. He was born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.
After enlisting in the Army at age 17 and serving in the 24th Infantry Division in Iraq during the Gulf War, he became his family’s eighth generation of combat soldiers dating back to the mid-1700s in Boston, Massachusetts.
Unfortunately, Scott was forced to retire from the military due to a tumor inside his spinal cord. In 2010 he developed Brown-Sequard syndrome, a rare neurological condition that caused him to lose sensation in his left leg and foot, as well as fine motor skills in his right hand.
“I’m blessed to be alive,” Scott said. “I’ve had a cancerous tumor inside my spinal cord for 23 years. It’s been surgically removed twice, but it regrows despite radiation and chemotherapy. I’ve rehabbed myself out of a wheelchair twice now.”
$1 billion secured for paralyzed vets & families
During the 75 years of its existence, PVA has been a support system for our nation’s paralyzed and disabled heroes.
The organization has helped millions of veterans, their family members, caregivers and those living with spinal cord injury and disease (SCI/D).
As of 2020, $1 billion has been secured for the vets and families PVA represents. Some $280 million in earned benefits has been received for those vets.
In addition, $78 million has been paid in adaptive housing and automobile grants. And $948,000 in grants have been funded to SCI/D research and education.
Adaptive sports athletes hone their skills
PVA, which has partnered with two veterans’ charitable groups near and dear to the heart of 4Patriots – Team Rubicon and Fisher House Foundation – also offers a wide variety of adaptive sports and recreational opportunities throughout the year and across the U.S.
“I’m very passionate about adaptive sports,” said Scott, who is also a member of the advisory council for the Reeve Foundation Military & Veterans Program.
“For just about any Olympic sport, we can do a modified version in wheelchairs. Including track and field, basketball and many others. Personally, I participate in air rifle.
“We had our first adaptive sports boot camp in Franklin, Wisconsin last year. We brought in 26 athletes and honed their skills for national wheelchair games.
“I also get a lot of energy out of advocating for the Americans with Disabilities Act. We want accommodations for paralyzed people to become the norm and not the exception.”
Volunteering 60 hours per week
Anyone who has suffered paralysis or other serious injury while serving their country has certainly earned the right to sit back and take rather than give.
But Scott Is different. He’s out there volunteering 60 hours per week to help other paralyzed veterans in their time of need. We asked him why.
“Growing up military, that’s who I am,” he said. “It’s what I choose to continue to do. I get a lot of energy out of making a difference in someone’s life.
“I’m very blessed to be alive and be in a position where I can give back. I’m more ambulatory than many others who have been paralyzed. Just being able to walk into one of our meetings is a gift.
“I’m not done yet. I plan on sticking around for a little while. I’m privileged to work with individuals who aren’t as fortunate and have lesser abilities. Living with a wheelchair is a tough existence. That’s why I volunteer – to make their lives better.
“I tell people that every day is a bonus. Don’t take your health for granted. If you can make a small difference in someone’s life, do it. Think before you speak.
“A lot of people have invisible disabilities. Just because you can’t see them in a wheelchair doesn’t mean they’re not dealing with something. Kindness and consideration go a long way.”