Stephen Bush is no stranger to putting others first. Bush, who has been a national service officer for Paralyzed Veterans of America (Paralyzed Veterans) for seven years, is dedicated to making sure that veterans get all the care and assistance they need to readjust to life after catastrophic injury. Bush’s expertise in veterans affairs and legal issues has helped numerous disabled veterans receive the proper health and military benefits.
A veteran himself, Bush served for eight years in the Army as an AH64 Apache helicopter mechanic in the Gulf War. His experiences, no doubt, have enhanced his ability to do his job well. An integral part of operations at the Paralyzed Veterans office in Tampa, FL, Bush also serves veterans in his community as a mentor at the Tampa General Spinal Cord Community Outreach Program. Bush says his paralysis makes it easier for some veterans with spinal cord injury to open up and communicate with him when they realize that he may have shared some of the same experiences.
Bush believes strongly that physical limitations should not stop veterans from doing the things they love most. Acknowledging the challenges that he and others like him face, he asserts that they need only to “find a way to do things differently.”
Bush’s lifestyle is proof that paralysis does not have to hinder. A valued member of the Paralyzed Veterans Racing Team, Bush represents Paralyzed Veterans not only through service but on the racetrack as well. Having competed in three marathons and spearheaded a handcycling team in the “Ride to Stop ALS,” Bush has proven that he is committed to being a part of the solution.
“I work with veterans to get them into cycling and go on rides with them so that they’re not alone,” he said. Those veterans and the thousands others assisted by Paralyzed Veterans are certainly not alone as they work with Bush or the organization’s 68 other service officers to once again resume an active, fulfilled life.
While Bush is inspiration for many others, he says, “What keeps me going is there are still others who need our assistance.”
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America's National Service Officers
Kellen Comer is majoring in International Affairs at the George Washington University.