Senator McCain with United Spinal President & CEO Paul J. Tobin (L) & Terry Moakley, Chair of the VetsFirst Committee (R).

Senator McCain with United Spinal President & CEO Paul J. Tobin (L) & Terry Moakley, Chair of the VetsFirst Committee (R).

VetsFirst honored U.S. Senator John McCain with the VetsFirst Congressional Bronze Star Award during an evening awards reception on Capitol Hill on June 18th that recognized Congressional champions of the disability community.

The reception took place during the 2nd Annual United Spinal Association’s Roll on Capitol Hill, a legislative advocacy event that addresses issues that impact the health, independence and quality of life of individuals living with spinal cord injury or disease.

McCain has been a huge supporter of efforts to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD); the first treaty to address disability rights globally.

While serving in the United States Senate, Senator McCain has also supported disability rights by cosponsoring the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the ADA Amendments Act.

Similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the CRPD embodies the traditional American ideals of empowering people with disabilities to be independent, to claim personal responsibility for their own lives, and to be able to make their own choices. Ratification of the CRPD would present the opportunity for a reaffirmation of these values and is critical to maintaining our nation’s leadership on the development of disability rights throughout the world.

“Senator McCain’s leadership in the Senate on the CRPD has been invaluable. It was a tremendous honor for us to personally recognize his efforts on behalf of all Americans with disabilities,” said Heather Ansley, Esq., MSW, Vice President of Veterans Policy VetsFirst, a program of United Spinal Association.

Senator McCain said upon receiving his award, “I’m grateful for your presence and I’m grateful for your advocacy. Everyone in this room had someplace else to be besides being here today and you speak for thousands and thousands and you speak for millions and millions around the world who deserve the passage of the CRPD.”

“You blazed a trail for people throughout the world to follow. What you have been over the years is an example and inspiration to me in the work that you’ve done,” he said.

“Every person in the word deserves the same rights that the Americans with Disabilities Act gave all Americans. They deserve that. If we could pass this CRPD it could give the same rights to people throughout the world that do not have tem today. Anybody who tells you there is any other nation in the world that has the same rights as Americans do as a result of the Americans with Disabilities Act is not telling the truth. There are many people in less fortunate circumstances than we are and they cry out for the kinds of rights that we have granted to many of our citizens,” McCain added.