Marco Bungert, Paralyzed Veterans of America, says Honor the Spot started over 75 years ago when PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) was founded. When World War II veterans came home, and their communities weren’t accessible for them; their homes so they fought for our accessibility and Honor the Spot is continuing the fight with parking.
Marco joined the military at the age of 18 right out of high school. He served about two years when he got injured in a car accident which left him paralyzed from the chest down. He says he was 19 laying in a hospital thinking his life was pretty much over, thinking they weren’t going to be able to do anything. A PVA officer came in, explained all the benefits that were available to him like making his home accessible, and his car adapted so he could drive. He is still able to play sports and be active which led him to represent the USA in 2019 in Norway with adaptive skiing and without PVA providing all this information he says he wouldn’t be here today. Marco says he is paying it forward and happy to be on this campaign, Honor the Spot, and spread the word.
When asked how big of an issue is the unavailability of parking spots for people with disabilities, Marco says, it is a pretty big issue and some places have limited availability anyway. There was a survey done with people with disabilities and 85% experienced this kind of issue in their communities; over half, he says, just turn around and go home. He says they need those spots to make appointments and go to the grocery store and it is very important to them because it is part of their independence.
He says you see people use the plackers and you can see my handicap but I may not be able to see yours because a lot of people have disabilities you can’t see, but there are times when people are blocking the spaces in between. Marco says there was a time he went out to eat with his family and when they came out somebody blocked that space used to get in and out. He uses a wheel chair so he needs that space to get in and out of his vehicle.
How can you be part of the solution? Marco says go to pva.org/honorthespot and join the pledge, join PVA and spread the word and you can go to the website and learn and educate yourself so you can educate others and, do not park in those spaces.