Thursday, July 23, 2009


Editor, Paraplegia News

The Mexico Chapter PVA (Paralyzed Veterans of America) article (May 2009) brought back fond memories from the past. I attended my first PVA annual convention held in Chicago in 1970. I left that experience wearing a black and silver sombrero after admiring it for several days on the head of a Mexico Chapter delegate. It hung on display for several years in our home.
A few years later during President Frank DeGeorge's term in office I had the pleasure of serving as the National Vice President, back when there was only one such position. Since recruitment for members was in my job description and Chapter visitations was part of the job, I flew from Washington, D.C. to Guadalajara for an official PVA visit. It was the first time a national figure had made such a trip.

The hospitality and welcome received was red carpet treatment the entire visit. The VP met with most of the Chapter members (residing at this particular group home...most members rented houses and some shared theirs with other guys/gals), was shown the sites and living quarters of those residing in this quaint place. It was a real experience for all of us from which a favorable report was taken back to National Office. Those who lived that experience during that time in PVA history proved their independence, determination and showed to others what can be accomplished.

Over the years I have told others of my first trip South of the Border and how I enjoyed the adventure. Like so many things in life, we change, as does the situation.

However, it was a sad day in 1984 when a great PVA Chapter ceased to exist. I salute those members, still living, who had the chance to be a member of a one of a kind group.

John "Jack" Rine,
Past National Vice President, PVA


Monday, July 20, 2009



A long-overdue 'thanks so much for the book order.'

By now, I'm sure you've read the letter to the Mexico PVA editor that gives kudos to your 'Chaplain's Corner' (by David Carlson). It's ironic that it came from our Arizona PVA.

I held on to many old PVA letters and articles, as did Keith Ziegler and Ray Foland before him. It helps bolster my claim that Guadalajara during the 50's through the 80's was much more than a 'oceanside sex resort for Vietnam veterans', as depicted in Oliver Stone's Born on the Fourth of July and as described in other magazine articles by those who were mislead! Every time I watch that movie, with the seventeen minutes segment about "Villa Dulce" (I believe that the real Tom Cruise--Ron Kovic--stayed at Villa del Sol) minus the ocean, I become more infuriated that one man's experience, during his brief visit to Mexico close to four decades ago, still defines a thirty year period of time lived and experienced by countless hundreds of others!

Depicting ALL Mexican women in the movie as whores and prostitutes, as well as, misleading the public to believe that ALL the paras and quads who lived there to be alcoholic whore-mongering Vietnam veterans, is a grave injustice to both groups.

I don't know what it'll take to set the record straight, but I'll do my part to keep that special place in time from being forever forgotten.

Best Wishes,

Jack Tumidajski



I didn't know Jim Derry all that well while we were living in Guadalajara. The paraplegic from Ohio and I traveled in different circles. I'd see Jim at PVA functions and oftentimes at Cubilete (the original George Ray's Place) whenever I stopped by to visit and play cards with seasoned citizens Gil Turetsky and Leo Boudosis, who also rented rooms there.

Ironically, Jim was the first person to order a copy of my book, QUADALAJARA --- The Utopia That Once Was, when Paraplegia News editor Cliff Crase first reviewed it in the Paralyzed Veterans of America's monthly publication.

Jim passed away on July 8, 2009. May he rest in peace...