Welcome to the website of the Gateway Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America (GPVA). We are one of 34 Chapters nationwide and do not have any association with any organizations with similar names in the St. Louis area. We are very proud to have been named PVA’s “Most Outstanding Chapter” for both 2015 and recently for 2016. In 2015, we were honored with the Civil Rights Enforcement Agency “Distinguished Fair Housing” award. We also have once again earned the St. Louis area Better Business Bureau status of an Honor Roll Charity, meeting all 20 of their governance and financial standards. In addition, we are designated as an A+ Charity by the St. Louis BBB. We are also a Guidestar Platinum Level Participant. As indicated in our last tax return (Federal form 990) and 2016 audit, 86% of our expenditures went to member programs. The return can be found on the St. Louis Better Business Bureau website and guidestar.com. The Chapter remains as a 501(c)(3) non-profit veterans organization serving honorably discharged veterans of the armed forces of the United States who have sustained spinal cord injury or disease. Spinal cord injuries often result from wounds in combat, automobile accidents and recreational activities. Spinal cord disease and dysfunction include Multiple Sclerosis (MS), ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and other diseases affecting the central nervous system of the spinal cord. We receive no federal government funding. We are governed by a twelve-member volunteer Board of veterans like myself-- paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1996 while on active duty in the U.S. Army. The vision statement of the Gateway Chapter is: “Veterans with spinal cord injury or disease, living life to the fullest.”
This last year our PVA Chapter continued its tradition of service to the membership. We helped sponsor members so they could attend the National Veterans Wheelchair Games in the summer, the Winter Sports Clinic and participate in the annual Trout Lodge Outdoor Adventure event. Participation in our Chapter trap shoot program in St. Louis continued to expand to include our members in VA retirement facilities, nursing homes, and new members who had not previously been involved in any events. The Chapter provides monthly catered luncheons and catered holiday dinners to hospitalized patients at the SCI/D Unit of the Jefferson Barracks VA complex in St. Louis County and the six-bed acute care SCI/D unit at the John Cochran VA Hospital in midtown St. Louis.
Our transportation program has expanded to be available an average of four days per week and weekends with sufficient notice. We transport outpatient paralyzed veterans to and from the two St. Louis area VA Medical Centers for appointments and recreational events. We have also expanded picking up our members who reside in Missouri and Illinois nursing homes, enabling them to get out in the community as well as make needed visits to VA facilities. For the past 18 months, I have participated as a disability advocate on the St. Louis CityArchRiver redesign project, ensuring equal access to the park and the Arch for those with mobility impairments.
Most importantly, our Board of Directors remains vigilant in monitoring the care our members receive at the two medical facilities, specifically John Cochran Hospital. Our Chapter Hospital Liaison, Scott Richards, PVA Service Officer Rodney Harris, and I meet monthly with St. Louis VA management to ensure quality care for our members at St. Louis VA facilities.
Our membership continues to grow, along with our commitment to help our members live life to the fullest. We are rethinking our fundraising and operating paradigms for today's economic climate, becoming stronger and even more determined to serve those who answered our nation's call.
We would welcome your support and interest. We have a continued need for volunteers for our luncheons and other events. Donations are, of course, always accepted and are tax-deductible. Please call with any questions on our local line (314) 427-0393 or toll-free 1-800-426-4058. Please also feel free to stop by and see us. Join us at one of our monthly luncheons for hospitalized members. See in person who we help and what we do!