Out Front – June 2022

I attended the 76th Annual PVA convention in Atlanta Georgia in late May. Much like last year’s Convention in Las Vegas, this year’s Convention was held in-person, but with the addition of some limited Chapter leadership invited to attend. Reflecting on the passage of time since then, in one hand, it seems like thepast year went by so quickly, yet in the other hand it feels like was an eternity. In either case, another year is behind us with a fresh new one in front of us.

A significant and important resolution that passed by the National Board was Resolution 22–M–5 Revising PVA Membership Eligibility to include AnyHonorably Discharged Veteran Diagnosed with Any Form of MS. This opens membership eligibility to any honorably discharged veteran with a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) diagnosis. Previously, PVA membership had been limited to veterans with detectable spinal cord lesions, regardless of any visible brain lesions. This opens up PVA membership to nearly 60,000 veterans with MS. Our Chapter has already seen a small number of new members with MS join. I’m sure as the eligibility news continues to spreads we’ll see an increasing rise in members with MS. For New England members looking for MS information, resources and peer support, please connect with Chapter MS Liaison Chuck Houle via email at [email protected]

On the governance side of PVA, the National Board of Directors decided Executive Committee members can not hold dual roles as a Committee members and Chapter President. With my subsequent re-election as National Vice President, I’m forced to relinquish my role as your Chapter President on June 30, 2022. This is a very bitter sweet moment, as I invested so much of myself in the success of our local Chapter, but will now continue my focus on making difference on a broader scale nationally for PVA. That said, I’m very proud of what was accomplished during my 5-year Chapter Presidency. To highlight a few of these accomplishments:

  • Successfully overcame a $250,000 deficit from the loss of the telemarketing
  • Relocated the Chapter office to within rolling distance of our New England SCI hub at theWest Roxbury VAMC at half the lease rate of previous office space.
  • Chapter received PVA’s “John Price Most Improved Chapter” by efficiently increasing our program expense ratio from 35% to 87.5%.
  • Chapter received the “Richard Fuller Outstanding Achievement in Government Relations” for rebuilding our Gov’t Relations program into a well recognized and credible resource which has effectively cultivated relationships with all our Congressional delegates from each New England state. Key to this rebuild was my hiring of an extremely skilled, experienced and passionate Director of Government Relations – Kristen McCone Gordon. Kristen has gone on to be recognized nationally by PVA for her continued Government Relations work.
  • Chapter received the “Bob Webb Excellence in Newsletter” award for the new format and design of the Cord Word, which also added electronic distribution via an e-mail newsletter.
  • Chapter received the “Excellence in Chapter Website” award for it’s complete website redesign which incorporated a variety of forward thinking technology such as accepting online donations, multi-platform viewing capabilities, event calendering and registration and so much more.
  • During the height of COVID secured nearly $60,000 in grant funding to sustain our member support efforts, including $12,000 in cash grants paid directly to our members in need.
  • Increased the Chapter’s investment portfolio to over $1 Million dollars and cash operating funds to over $250,000.
  • Recruited and added new members to the Board of Directors and Program

Although my leadership style may be different, I can firmly look upon these accomplishments knowing they’ve put the Chapter securely in a better place organizationally, physically, and financially to continue serving its members throughout New England for years to come. With everything said here though, I think it poignant to end with this final quote:

“For time and the world do not stand still. Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or the present are certain to miss the future.” – President John F. Kennedy

Michael G. Negrete
Chapter President and
Paralyzed Vteran

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