Paralyzed Veterans of America Names Interim Executive Director

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 7, 2017 — Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) today announced that its President and Executive Committee have named Carl Blake the organization's interim executive director. Paralyzed Veterans is the only veterans service organization that serves veterans living with spinal cord injury or disease, and Blake has led its government relations program since 2014.

Carl Blake, Interim Executive Director, Paralyzed Veterans of America

Blake, a West Point grad and U. S. Army veteran, first became a member of Paralyzed Veterans in 2001, and has served as its associate executive director of government relations for the past three years.

Carl Blake has shown unfailing dedication and commitment to the members of Paralyzed Veterans of America, all veterans and the greater disability community for more than a decade,” said National President David Zurfluh. “His leadership of our national advocacy and legislative efforts has given severely disabled veterans and their families new hope and opportunities for a better quality of life, families of their own and the benefits they've earned in service to our great country.  We are confident he will continue to put the needs and concerns of our paralyzed veterans first, and do everything possible to improve the lives of our members and their families, as well as the lives of all veterans and disabled Americans.”

As head of the organization's government relations department, Blake has been responsible for the planning, coordination, and implementation of its national legislative and advocacy program agendas with the United States Congress and federal departments and agencies.  He has developed and executed Paralyzed Veterans' Washington agenda in areas of budget, appropriations, health care, and veterans' benefits issues, as well as disability civil rights.  He has also spearheaded the consortium of veterans service organization partners who annually plan, author and publish The Independent Budget, a collaborative policy and budget recommendation publication that is presented each year to the United States Congress.

In this role, Blake has also represented Paralyzed Veterans to federal agencies, including the Department of Defense, Department of Labor, Small Business Administration, the Department of Transportation, Department of Justice, and the Office of Personnel Management.  He has coordinated all activities with Paralyzed Veterans' Association of Chapter Government Relations Directors, as well its Executive Committee, Board of Directors and senior leadership.

“I am honored and privileged to be asked to carry the responsibility of advancing the mission of Paralyzed Veterans of America,” said Blake.  “As a Paralyzed Veterans' member, I take seriously the organization's commitment to the men and women who rely upon us to be their advocates. The leaders who have come before me have built this organization into a influential force in the veterans and disability communities, and I humbly intend to build on their legacy.”

More About Carl Blake

Carl Blake was raised in Woodford, Virginia.  He graduated the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York in 1998, with a Bachelor of Science Degree. 

Upon graduation from West Point, Blake was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Infantry in the United States Army.  He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment (1st Brigade) of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  He graduated from Infantry Officer Basic Course, U.S. Army Ranger School, U.S. Army Airborne School, and Air Assault School.  His awards include the Army Commendation Medal, Expert Infantryman's Badge, and German Parachutist Badge.  Carl retired from the military in October 2000 due to injuries suffered during a parachute training exercise.

Blake is a member of the Paralyzed Veterans Mid-Atlantic Chapter in Virginia. He lives in Fredericksburg, Virginia with his wife Venus, son Jonathan and daughter Brooke.

About Paralyzed Veterans

Paralyzed Veterans of America is the only congressionally chartered veterans service organization dedicated solely for the benefit and representation of veterans with spinal cord injury or disease. For more than 70 years, we have ensured that veterans have received the benefits earned through their service to our nation; monitored their care in VA spinal cord injury units; and funded research and education in the search for a cure and improved care for individuals with paralysis.

As a partner for life, Paralyzed Veterans also develops training and career services, works to ensure accessibility in public buildings and spaces, provides health and rehabilitation opportunities through sports and recreation and advocates for veterans and all people with disabilities. With more than 70 offices and 33 chapters, Paralyzed Veterans serves veterans, their families and their caregivers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico (

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SOURCE Paralyzed Veterans of America

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Brad Bennett

Brad Bennett

Brad grew up in a small town in northern Iowa. He studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married his wife one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children.
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