To my fellow Mid-Atlantic PVA chapter members, another year has come and it is time for you to select your Board of Directors for the Chapter for another term. It has been my pleasure and an honor to serve you the last 12 years.
Many of you already know me from representing you on the Board of Directors for the last 12 years. To our new members, I welcome you to the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America.
Here is a little bit about me – I reside in Harford County, MD with my family. I am the father of four, with 11 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren and too many god-children to remember.
I served in the United States Air Force for four years in the Air Defense Command (NORAD) as an Aircraft Control and Warning Operator – “We were your eyes in the sky”.
After leaving the USAF, I was accepted into Mortuary School (Simmons School of Mortuary Science and Embalming) in Syracuse, NY, graduating with an associate’s degree in Mortuary Science. I relocated to Maryland after graduation to start my apprenticeship. Upon completing the two year state apprenticeship requirements and successfully passing the Maryland State Boards I opened my own establishment in Havre de Grace, MD. I was self-employed for 22 years before my SCI injury and continued for 7 more years after being in the wheelchair. As you know a spinal cord injury changes your life beyond anything you could have imagined. After semi-retiring and finally selling the business to a family member I found I had time for many more things.
I was introduced by my primary care doctor when he gave a consult to the Regional Spinal Cord Center in Richmond (Richmond VAMC). The very first day in Richmond I was introduced to PVA by fellow veterans that I met. I was asked to be a member and I have not looked back. As a member I quickly learned what PVA meant to individuals like you and me, trying to live this new life in a wheelchair.
I worked at any and all activities I was asked to serve. I was first appointed as an ad hoc member of the board where I cut my teeth and learned more about PVA. After my ad hoc service to our chapter I was nominated by the membership and elected to the Board of Directors. Since I joined the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the PVA as a member and serving the membership on the Board of Directors my life has been enhanced by everyone I have met along this wheelchair journey. Since joining PVA I have visited more than 20 states participating in in programs such as swimming, snow skiing, archery, water skiing,fishing tournaments, hunting, trap shooting, etc. These are just some of the activities PVA will assist you with and I will fight to continue to make these activities available for you. If you choose to re-elect me to represent you as your Mid-Atlantic PVA Chapter Board of Directors member I promise I will continue to protect and monitor the care and services the VA is required by Congress to provide to you and ensure you receive the highest quality of care as well as the benefits you have earned as a veteran. As veterans with spinal cord injuries we must have access to specialized services and rehabilitation services so we can live productive lives like all Americans, allowing us to work, travel and fully participate in everyday society. As your Board member I promise to work as hard as I have in the past and if God grants me strength and energy I will work harder.
Hernan is a retired Information Assurance analyst and engineer. During his more than 30-year tenure, Hernan worked with large information technology firms like Computer Sciences Corporation, GTE, General Dynamics, and others. Serving clients from both the government sectors of national security and defense, as well as responding to market requests from the private sector.
Hernan is a paraplegic, paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a spinal cord illness aggravated during his military service. As a signal support specialist and instructor, Hernan served at various outfits throughout the world, but chiefly at US Army Signal Center training units for contingency and training missions.
Hernan is a graduate of the University of Fairfax, completing a degree in Information/Cyber Security.
I have been nominated to for a position on the Mid-Atlantic PVA’s board of directors for this election cycle. It is an honor just to be nominated. Should I be re-elected by my fellow chapter members, I pledge that I will do my best to help the chapter to continue to serve its members and find ways to enhance that service where needed. My entire professional 20 year career with PVA and my volunteer work following my retirements was about providing service to PVA members and others with disabilities.
Here is some background information as a spinal cord injured veteran and my involvement with PVA:
I was medically retired for the U.S. Air Force as the result of a service connected spinal cord injury. I was rehabilitated for my spinal cord injury at Zablocki VA Medical Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (May 1980 – December 1980). I have been a member of the Paralyzed Veterans of America since 1980.
I spent almost 20 years working for PVA in its Veterans Benefits Department. I started my NSO training in Washington DC and completed it in service office in Roanoke, Virginia in 1985. I returned to Nebraska and became the NSO in Lincoln and worked there for 2½ years before I was asked to join the Veterans Benefits Department (VBD) team at the PVA National Office. I became the National Staff Assistant for VBD’s Director of Operations. In 1989, I was promoted to the Director of Training and became responsible for the hiring and training of all PVA National Service Officers. I developed the training material for the 16 month NSO Candidate training program and was successful in having the program approved by VA for use as a qualified On-The-Job training program for disabled veterans who were eligible for vocational rehabilitation benefits.
In 1992, VBD’s operations and training programs were merged to create Field Services and I was named Director of Field Services at that time. I managed all aspects of Field Operations and also worked at the National level with various VA program managers, such as Prosthetics, Compensation and Pension, Vocational Rehabilitation, Volunteer Services, Memorial Services, and more. I served as a member of several PVA SCI center site visit teams, specializing in the assessment of prosthetics services and delivery issues. I also performed as the PVA team leader during some of SCI Center site visits. During this period, I also authored the prosthetics section for the Independent Budget that was submitted yearly to Congress. I served as the Director of Field Services until my first retirement from PVA in 2003, after 18 ½ years of employment.
After my retirement from PVA, I became involved with the National Wheelchair Poolplayers Association (NWPA), becoming its President in 2006. PVA later contracted with me to serve as a consultant to help develop its national billiards program. This eventually led to the creation of the PVA/NWPA National Wheelchair Billiards Tournament Series, which is currently in its 14th season.
In 2009, then-PVA Executive Director Homer Townsend recruited me to serve in the role as the Associate Executive Director for Veterans Benefits. I accepted and served in that role until my second retirement from full time employment in early 2011. During this time in that capacity, one of my duties was to develop and manage the yearly budget for the entire department. I also provided regular departmental reports and updates to the PVA Board of Directors, the Executive Committee, and the various PVA standing committees as necessary.
In 2017, I was elected by the Mid-Atlantic PVA board of directors to serve as their National Director on PVA’s national board of directors. I was also re-elected for another 3 year term as national director in 2020. I understand the important role of the National Director and take its responsibilities very seriously. I have tried to be a positive but effective advocate for doing what’s right. Proper oversight is required. There is too much at stake for our members if we don’t stay focused and true to our mission and be good stewards of our resources. I also serve on the Mid-Atlantic PVA board of director, and was appointed by the board in January 2021 to serve as its Treasurer. I currently serve as chairperson for the Mid-Atlantic chapter’s finance committee and personnel committee.
In 2021, at PVA’s Annual Convention, the national board directors of PVA approved my nomination for a 3 year appointment to the PVA Audit Committee, which oversees the annual audit of the PVA national’s income and expenses.
In 2022, I was appointed by PVA’s National President to serve on two Ad Hoc Committee, one which examined and recommended the modification of PVA’s process for electing its National Officers at its annual conventions, and the other one that recommended changes to allow members of PVA’s board of directors to participate and vote remotely when extenuating circumstances prevent one or more directors to attended a national board meeting or convention.
Also, in 2022, I was selected by PVA’s National President to serve on a new Ad Hoc Committee that will study and recommend if PVA should establish a national grant program for chapter’s that want to host outdoor recreational opportunities for the members.
Thank you for your consideration and support of my nomination. I look forward to serving my fellow chapter members in this capacity.
It is with great honor and humility to announce my candidacy for the PVA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Board of Directors. As an interim board member since June, I realize the magnitude of this position and I do not take this role lightly. If elected, I will always keep the chapter’s membership interests my highest priority.
I became a PVA member following a B-52 crash in 1988. Since then, I spent the majority of my time working as a flight instructor. I accumulated another 6,000 hours training aspiring pilots and others to achieve their aviation goals. In addition, I spent the past 15 years leading and managing flight schools in the Hampton Road area as a chief instructor. I believe this experience leading highly skilled and professional individuals will benefit me as a team member of the Mid-Atlantic chapter’s board of directors.
If elected, I pledge to work with the dedicated staff assisting our members in receiving the health care benefits they justly deserve. I will continue making inroads on disability rights and accessibility, at the same time providing access to quality of life programs that truly help our members.
Johnny “Quadzilla” Holland is an accomplished wheelchair athlete, mentor, and brand ambassador. He has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America for almost three decades, serving on the Board of the Directors for the past three years. He has also served as the Chair of the Mid-Atlantic Sports & Rec Committee for the past two years. Holland has advocated with the organization on Capitol Hill to address policy concerns and representation for veterans with spinal cord injuries.
Born and raised in Fayetteville, NC, Holland joined the Army in 1984, attending basic training at Fort Knox and AIT school at Fort Dix, where he was classified as a 64C (motor transport operator).
Holland was stationed in Kentucky and Korea before PCSing to Fairbanks, Alaska in 1987. It was here that he was injured in a motor vehicle accident, suffering a spinal cord injury that would lead to a diagnosis of quadriplegia.
While an inpatient at the Richmond VA Medical Center, Holland’s optimistic disposition led to him being asked to talk with and encourage his fellow newly injured troops, a role he fully dedicated himself to. In rehab, he formed a close friendship with his recreational therapist, Ike Cook, who introduced him to wheelchair sports and encouraged him to stay on the move.
He attended his first National Veterans Wheelchair Games in Long Beach, CA in 1989, and has missed only two in the years since, earning the nickname Quadzilla for his prowess on the rugby court and larger-than-life personality.
Currently, Holland works as an ambassador for Van Products, Inc., an automobility company based in Raleigh, NC, and spends his free time engaging in various sports clinics, workshops, and competitions- including the Southeastern Valor Games, the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, the annual National Veteran’s Wheelchair Games, and billiard tournaments as far as South Africa.
Within his community, Holland is a mentor for veterans and civilians alike- often serving as a soundboard for the newly injured and educating them on equipment and resources to make their lives easier.
Holland resides in Goldsboro, NC, with his wife of 37 years, Shirvon. He has an adult daughter, Jovane (a Marine Corps veteran), and a grandson, Justice.
In his own words, Holland would consider it a privilege and an honor to serve on the board of an organization that has been so instrumental in his success and support as a disABLEd veteran.
A 72-year-old disabled veteran of the Vietnam era, Mr. May has been in a wheelchair for 54 years. Mr. May was injured in Vietnam on December 1, 1968. At the time, he was in the Army serving with “The Big Red I” Infantry Division. While serving, he received a Purple Heart, the Army Accommodation Medal, and other medals. Mr. May is past president of the Independent Wheelchair Athletic Association. He has been involved with Independent Wheels since 1974, and has served as president on and off for over 28 years. Mr. May is very much involved in wheelchair sports. One accomplishment of which Jimmy is very proud is that he is the only veteran who has attended the National Veteran’s Wheelchair Games in 37 out of the 41 years in which the Games were held.
He also served as coach of the Sportable Rimriders wheelchair basketball team. May, who has put Richmond at the forefront of wheelchair basketball since the team’s started in 1981, retired coaching the Sportable team in March 2022. Mr. May was inducted into the National Wheelchair Basketball Hall of Fame April, 2019.
Mr. May, bowls with the Sitting Ducks Plus bowling league where he serves as secretary. Mr. May lives in Midlothian, VA with his wife of 53 years, Sue. Mr. May enjoys spending time in Urbanna, camping and fishing with his wife. Sue is a stylist and owner of Sue’s Hair Care for Seniors. They have two sons, Troy and Kevin, and two grandchildren, Savannah and Zachary. Troy is a Lieutenant for the Goochland County Virginia Sheriff’s Department and Kevin works for Hunter Construction.
Mr. May is a life member of the local chapters of PVA, DAV, VFW, and Sportable. He is also on the board of directors of the American Wheelchair Bowling Association. Mr. May was inducted into the American Wheelchair Bowling Association Hall of Fame November, 2020.
He is currently serving as President of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter’s Board of Directors and serves on several committees within the chapter. Mr. May enjoys volunteering his time and energy in helping to serve all Veterans.
Mr. May is always pushing for The Americans with Disabilities Act, working to improve accessibility in public life, jobs, schools and most of all, transportation.
Mr. May respectfully asks for your vote to continue serving the members of PVA’s Mid-Atlantic Chapter.
Jessica c. Oliff
Jessie Oliff is an Army veteran who served in the Military Police Corps and earned the rank of Sergeant. Oliff served during Operation Iraqi Freedom where she served two combat tours and was awarded many awards for her quick thinking, courage and leadership.
Oliff was born and raised in King William VA, where she resides as of 2016.
After the military, Oliff was an inpatient for two years in the Palo Alto Polytrauma Rehab Center and Martinez VA Rehab Center, both located near San Francisco, CA.
After her release, Oliff became involved in a group called Veteran’s Path based in Mill Valley, CA. Oliff became one of the Founding Veteran Leaders to help lead groups, to mentor Veterans and help develop Veteran’s Path to be a National VA affiliated group.
While Oliff has been in Virginia, she has been and will be the Head Coach for Sportable’s Power Soccer Team – 2018-2023. She also is amazing at mentoring the members of her team, as well as all the other participants at the Summer Camp and activities that she volunteers for year round.
Oliff has been a member of the Wounded Warrior Project since 2008 and the PVA Mid-Atlantic Chapter since 2018. Currently, Oliff is the Vice President of the PVA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Board of Directors, the Chair of the Membership Committee, has led the formation of a Women’s Council and directs the Adaptive Equipment Committee. Oliff has been a member of the PVA Mid-Atlantic Chapter Board of Directors since 2020.
Ronald D. Richardson
Ronald Richardson is an Army veteran who, since his medical retirement from the Army, has been a member of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Paralyzed Veterans of America. Richardson served on the Board of Directors from 2009-2016 as a Director or Ad hoc Director. He is also a member of the Fayetteville Spinal Cord Injury Support Group, the Fayetteville-Cumberland Advisory Council for People with Disabilities, and the North Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Association. Richardson also serves as the Deputy Volunteer Liaison Officer for the Fayetteville Veterans’ Medical Center’s Veterans Administration Volunteer Service. He is a graduate of Terry Sanford High School in Fayetteville, NC and studied Business Administration and Finance at Fayetteville State University. Richardson spent 13 of his 22½ year career in the Army as a Recruiter. Throughout the Army’s Recruiting Command, Richardson was known for his outstanding leadership abilities, management skills and his determination to excel. He received numerous awards during his tenure as a Recruiter and Station Commander, to include: The Army Recruiter Ring and the Recruiting Medallion, both among the most prestigious awards in the U.S Army Recruiting Command; The Army Chief of Staff Award (two awards); the Order of the Sabre Award (three Awards); and the Top Large Recruiting Station (eight awards). Before his duties as a recruiter, Richardson served as a Fire Direction Control Specialist for the Lance and Multiple Launch Rocket System and later as a Vulcan Air Defense System repairman. Richardson served during Desert Shield, Storm and Comfort where he was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements while there. Richardson retired as a First Sergeant, a position held by soldiers noted for their leadership and management ability. Richardson resides in Fayetteville, NC.