Military and Veterans Program Spotlight: Scott Griffith

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on June 21, 2022 # Military / Veterans

Scott and his momScott Griffith’s path toward a military life was practically preordained. Born at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Griffith grew up in a family defined by a history of service dating to the mid-1600s.

“We grew up playing soldiers,” he says. “That’s what we aspired to be.”

Griffith enlisted in the U.S Army when he was just 17, launching a career in aviation maintenance that would take him around the world. During the Gulf War, when he was deployed to Iraq with the 24th Infantry Division, Griffith became the 8th generation of his family to serve in combat.

But in 2010, a tumor inside of his spinal cord shifted what Griffith assumed to be a settled life. He developed Brown-Sequard syndrome, a rare neurological condition that caused him to lose sensation in his left leg and foot, along with the fine motor skills in his right hand. Griffith retired from the military but remained determined to “live with integrity and purposefulness, to leave a legacy.”

“I needed to give back,” he says.

In his current role as a member of the Reeve Foundation Military & Veterans Program (MVP) advisory council, Griffith is doing just that.

ScottSince its inception in 2008, the MVP has helped thousands of families access specialty care and resources at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals while navigating the more emotional aspects of a life changed by paralysis. Council members like Griffith – retired service members, civilians and caregivers with ties to the various branches of the Armed Services – not only connect with veterans and caregivers who call the National Paralysis Resource Center for guidance, but also serve as outreach ambassadors at adaptive sporting events and disability expositions across the country.

“Our council members are critical to our success,” says MVP coordinator James Howard. “They’re reaching out and staying connected, filling the gaps for our veterans. And they’re bringing a wealth of knowledge to the council that helps us support the community.”

The MVP serves all veterans with paralysis, no matter whether acquired while on active duty or through disease or an accident that occurred after discharge or retirement. The council meets monthly to discuss the challenges faced by veterans – from finding caregiver respite to winding through a thicket of red tape to understand and access benefits – and share information about successful programs, resources and strategies that ensure families get the support they deserve.

“That’s what this council is all about,” Griffith says. “We may not have all the answers, but we can connect you to the person who does. We’re here to unburden families.”

Through his work with the MVP, Griffith has distributed comprehensive information packets from the National Paralysis Resource Center throughout the VA healthcare system in Milwaukee. And he’s met with nurses, educators and social workers to raise awareness about the MVP’s mission and Reeve Foundation resources including the Peer & Family Support Program.

“We want to make sure that every newly injury person that comes into these hospitals is introduced to these resources,” says Griffith, who is also chief operating officer and government relations director for the Wisconsin chapter of the Paralyzed Veterans of America. “The family of a person with a new injury is overwhelmed with their new norm and how it turns a world upside down. We have these resources on deck as they’re ready to start looking at them.”

More than a decade after he first began living with paralysis – with his health stable and his life as busy as ever – Griffith is grateful for the chance the MVP council provides to not only help other veterans with paralysis adapt but thrive.

“Every day is a bonus,” he says. “I look forward to continuing this work on the council and developing and sharing the resources that make life easier for people.”

To reach the Reeve Foundation’s Military and Veterans Program, please go to www.ChristopherReeve.org/MVP or call 1-866-962-8387.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.