After working as a service officer for Paralyzed Veterans of America for only one year, Joe Badzmierowski told himself that if he ever became a millionaire, he would work without a salary—the job and the assistance he was providing to veterans had come to mean that much to him.
Joe Badzmierowski, Eastern Region Director and Senior Benefits Advocate for Paralyzed Veterans of America
Badzmierowski has been working for Paralyzed Veterans in Boston for 17 years. Currently, he is Eastern Region director, overseeing operations in 26 service offices. Also serving as a senior benefits advocate, he has plenty of experience working to bring about positive change on behalf of veterans with disabilities.
Badzmierowski says that being a veteran himself, it’s “easier to understand the challenges of other veterans.” He also says, “I’ve always loved law and enjoy the ability to understand and use statutes and regulations to win even the most difficult cases on behalf of our clients.”
When 19-year old James Crosby was paralyzed while on tour in Iraq, Badzmierowski tasked himself with handling all of Crosby’s claims and benefits. As such, Crosby could focus solely on his recovery—something Badzmierowski knows to be a process that is taxing in and of itself, not to mention learning to navigate the health and benefits claims processes of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Over the years, his expertise with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense has resulted in faster, more efficient medical discharges and more timely disability payments. Badzmierowski’s efforts also led to Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Directive 2004-026 making many veterans exempt from medical copayments and eligible for beneficiary travel effective June 2004.
Badzmierowski often works beyond the typical 9 to 5 day, to accommodate the needs of veterans in other time zones. “We do whatever it takes to take care of our members and clients whether it is 8 a.m. or 8 p.m.”
His commitment to Paralyzed Veterans’ members, and all veterans, has not gone unnoticed. He has been honored with Paralyzed Veterans’ Executive Committee’s Special Recognition Award, the President’s Award from New England Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Victor S. McCoy Award for Excellence and several Region NSO of the Year awards.
Despite all of Badzmierowski’s accomplishments, his modesty is revealed through what he refers to as one of his proudest moments—working with the DOD to have a Paralyzed Veterans’ member’s name engraved on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and securing a visit to the memorial for the veteran’s family.
Learn more about Paralyzed Veterans of America’s national service officers
Kellen Comer is majoring in International Affairs at the George Washington University.