Meet James

Meet James

Posted by Community Admin on Aug 27, 2014 12:38 pm

James Howard is co-chair of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation's Military & Veteran Advisory Council, a program designed to help and support American servicemen and women who are living with paralysis. He is also the Mid Atlantic Regional Peer Mentor Coordinator for the Reeve Foundation Peer & Family Support Program.

James spent much of his time in the Army as an officer with the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, before setting his sights on joining the Green Berets. He was paralyzed during a service-connected accident he experienced prior to completing a Special Forces course, and has since been very active with a variety of organizations advocating for veterans and active military.

As the moderator in this discussion, James will highlight veterans and active service people living with paralysis who are making a big impact in their community, provide insight on how to gain access to critical resources, and give advice on getting "back to life and work" following an injury, all while keeping up-to-date with the latest veteran and military events.

Welcome James!

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Re: Meet James

Posted by Kristy on Sep 2, 2014 4:54 pm

Greetings, James!
I just got back from the National Veterans' Wheelchair Games a couple of weeks ago. One of the participants notified us of an organization called the Independence Fund ( If you are a veteran with service-connected disability rating of 30% or more, you can apply on their website for an all-terrain chair. They've gotten a backlog of post-NVWG applications, but mine was approved! I will send you a picture and more details once it has been delivered.

Re: Meet James

Posted by zuzu on Sep 2, 2014 5:35 pm

Hey James, Thank you for your service to our country.  Thank you more for helping here where Vets need some insight and assistance finding support from someone who's been there.  It's difficult to fight the system while adapting to a new body at the same time.  This forum is a great help to people who find it and share their story so others can offer suggestions and experience.

And Kristy, way cool that you got your all-terrain chair so quickly.  It's absolutely going to make a difference in your abitiy to go where you want when you want.  The future of mobility is going to be private funding.  Organizations like the Independence Fund need to be supported, just like this ALS challenge has been.

Thanks to you both for sharing your insight with everyone.

Re: Meet James

Posted by PRC_Bernadette on Sep 22, 2014 3:33 pm

Thanks for welcoming James t the community. As the other co-chair of the MVP Council, we are looking forward to having the discussion group up and running.
The Paralysis Resource Center offers a number of excellent vetted resources such as the Independence Fund. Take a look at our factsheet:
Every day I wake up is a good one. .....

Re: Meet James

Posted by Kristy on Sep 23, 2014 10:40 am

OK, I told you I'd post a pic of the "dune buggy" I received from the Independence Fund!

I just returned from the Lt. Dan Band Weekend in Charleston, SC -- another benefit from the indy Fund! Gary Sinise (Lt, Dan from Forrest Gump) and his band have had a benefit concert here annually, for the past five years. The Indy Fund offered free tickets, hotel, meals, an Expo, a Freedom Ride (handcyclists and bikers), a golf clinic...all kinds of stuff, 100% free to veterans who apply through their website. They even offered a $250 stipend to defray transportation costs for some people. 
And the Lt. Dan Band rocked! They are going it again next year!

Everyone apply! There were veterans there from as far away as Alaska and the U.K.

Re: Meet James

Posted by Kristy on Sep 23, 2014 10:48 am

And here's a pic of one of the several types of "tanks" that veterans have received:

Re: Meet James

Posted by MVP_James on Oct 14, 2014 10:52 am

Hello everybody,
Thank you for the kind words. Sorry for the delay in making my first post. It has been a very busy month and I have had many technical defficulties posting that im trying to get smoothed out.
Kristy- great comment on the independence fund.. I used to sit on the board for a few yrs back when it first started and helped the beginnings of 1-3 LT Dan weekend. The volunteerrs are the backbone that make up that organization and help it to continue to do good things. There are many organizations out there that provide this wonderful track chair opportunity to many veterans... What a great benefit.
I recently got back from a trip to San Francisco were they have a wonderful concept to build a veterans facility their and in florida to provide transition cources, education and job placement to many veterans nationwide. I will keep you updated on this resouce and many others in the near future. Looking forward to interacting with you and future topics to assist veterans.

Take care,

Re: Meet James

Posted by Kristy on Jul 31, 2015 4:22 pm

Hi James,

In my work as a Peer Mentor, I have discovered that civilian hospitals - and veterans - do not realize that if there is a probability that further (i.e. beyond insurance cut-offs) inpatient therapy may improve outcome, they may be referred to a SCI specialty VA hospital. (Here in FL, it's in Tampa.) Much better than being hustled to a skilled nursing facility or nursing home while the home is outfitted for accessibility -- and the veteran that I recommended to do this is now regaining some movement in his feet with the extra  intensive PT/OT!

We need to spread the word to the hospitals and veterans' groups in our communities!


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