Benjamin M. Williams
Member, Board of Directors; Chairman, Building Committee
I was inducted into the Army in 1953 and served in the Korean War. I served as a tank commander and was released from active service in 1955. Under the universal military training act I was in the Army Reserve for another eight years and was honorably discharged in 1963.
During my time in the service I accidentally fell, broke my leg and injured my back. After I was discharged I continued to have back and leg problems. Over the years, I broke my leg three more times. With no warning, I would lose all feeling in my legs and fall. I was finally diagnosed with spinal stenosis paraplegia.
I joined the Keystone Chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America so I would be able to associate with and help my peers. The chapter provides many opportunities, not just sports and recreation, that we might not otherwise be able to enjoy.
Besides serving on the chapter’s Board of Directors, I am the chairman of the Building Committee. I serve as the chapter’s deputy VA Voluntary Services representative for the VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System, both the Oakland and Heinz campuses, and spend about 300 or more hours on that task. I hear and monitor problems that our members might have and I pass along canteen coupon books purchased by the chapter to help them buy items they need from the commissary. I urge everyone to visit a veterans’ medical center and talk to some of the disabled veterans there.
I help promote PVA and the Keystone Chapter by staffing the chapter’s exhibit booth at the annual Washington County (Pa.) Sports Show.
I feel strongly about my fellow vets; I keep in touch with many. I especially commend our more active wheelchair athletes and how hard they work to earn those gold medals in competition.
As a veteran of the Korean War, It is important to me to remind people that there remain over 7,000 MIAs from that conflict.