Paralyzed Veterans of America
Todays article is about U.S. Air Force Veteran Gregory Joyce who served for 16 years and unfortunately developed a spinal cord disease. He is now using his experience as a disabled veteran to inspire others to continue to enjoy their lives despite their injuries. Read more about his mission and the Paralyzed Veterans of America below.
Gregory Joyce has used his experience as a paralyzed veteran to help show other veterans that life can still be enjoyed despite a drastic change in circumstances.
Joyce is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
“Primarily, our mission is to change lives and build brighter futures for seriously injured vets,” he said.
The group focuses on veterans’ advocacy, research and education about spinal cord injuries.
Joyce served for 16 years in the military in the US Air Force and Air National Guard before developing a spinal cord disease. He was medically retired by the Air Force in 1993.
He was in the Veterans Affairs Hospital in Houston for treatment when he first learned about the organization.
“I ran into a guy in the hallway who asked me if I knew about PVA,” said Joyce.
He joined PVA in 1995 and has served in numerous positions helping members change their lives for the better.
He has served as a member, national vice president, chapter vice president, treasurer and board member.
The organization focuses on veterans’ benefits, advocacy, accessible housing and promoting Americans with Disabilities Act compliance.
To be a member of PVA, a veteran must have a spinal cord-level disability. Most of the organization’s members are in wheelchairs.
Joyce performs public relations for the organization. He recently was the featured speaker at a Memorial Day event in Cleveland.
His favorite activity to perform is fishing. Joyce competes regularly in bass tournaments across the county. He also works with officials from the Houston VA hospital to arrange saltwater fishing trips for veterans.
Many of the members get into sports activities and compete in the National Veterans Wheelchair Games.
“All the activities are to let veterans know that there is life after a disability,” he said. “It’s to help them realize their worth. They could even go and find employment if they choose to. There are lots of opportunities to help people transition.”
The activities also help families get involved with the veteran because they also become caregivers.
By helping others, Joyce gets self-satisfaction.
“You can see how you help change lots of lives,” he said. “You show them how much benefit they can get from going out and doing things. I want to let others know because they did it for me. It is great satisfaction knowing that the PVA helped me and now I can give back by helping others.”
Joyce enjoys his work because he encourages others and he knows how they feel because he was in their situation when his life changed.
“There is a whole bright future ahead of you,” he said. “You help them cope with depression, anxiety and help them turn it around. That is very positive. It’s a major part of my life, giving back and being involved in all the volunteer opportunities.”
Joyce encourages others to consider volunteering in the organization as well. He said that opportunities are available locally and nationally.
Joyce is married to Frieda Joyce, who works at Cleveland Regional Medical Center. They have two daughters.
For more information about Paralyzed Veterans of America, call 713-520-8782 or visit www.texaspva.org.
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