It’s been a couple years since I really got involved with the Valour-IT fundraiser, but as many of you might remember, it is a very special event for me. Had it not been for the kindness of others after my back injury, I would have been isolated and depressed. But someone stepped up with a laptop for me to use and to stay connected with the world. Then came Project: Valour-IT. The fit was perfect.
Imagine not being able to log onto your computer and check your email, read the news, or catch up on the latest photos of your children or other family. You want to, but your hands and arms, for whatever reason, aren’t available to you. Or maybe you can’t see. Good Lord, you can’t see anything or use your arms! Imagine being far away from friends and family and feeling completely isolated while you lie in a hospital bed, scared. For less than $700, a wounded soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine can reconnect with loved ones, erasing the miles and much of the fear that comes with being alone while fighting to recover from severe injuries that have robbed you of your independence.
I felt it then and I feel it now: we can help and we should help. It’s such a small thing for us to do. Matt from Blackfive explains it better than I have:
WHAT IS VALOUR-IT? Project Valour-IT began when Captain Charles “Chuck” Ziegenfuss was wounded by an IED while serving as commander of a tank company in Iraq in June 2005.
During his deployment he kept a blog (an online personal diary, opinion forum, or news analysis site-called a milblog or military weblog when written by a servicemember or about military subjects). Captivating writing, insightful stories of his experiences, and his self-deprecating humor won him many loyal readers. After he was wounded, his wife continued his blog, keeping his readers informed of his condition.
As he began to recover, CPT Ziegenfuss wanted to return to writing his blog, but serious hand injuries hampered his typing. When a loyal and generous reader gave him a copy of the Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred software, other readers began to realize how important such software could be to CPT Ziegenfuss’ fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.
“At that time I had no use of either hand. I know how humbling it is, how humiliating it feels. And I know how much better I felt, how amazingly more functional I felt, after Soldiers’ Angels provided me with a laptop and a loyal reader provided me with the software. I can’t wait to do the same, to give that feeling to another soldier at Walter Reed.” – Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss at TC Override (wounded in Iraq) Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss (Captain Chuck Ziegenfuss’ father), provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries, amputations, eye or brain injuries, at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the ‘Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse.
Folks, I’ve witnessed several wounded soldiers set up their laptops only to email or Skype their friends and comrades in the war zone to let them know that they are okay. Keeping them in communication with loved ones increases the possibility of a successful recovery exponentially.
In order to fund the thousands of laptops we have distributed and need to distribute, we have an annual competition.
Valour-IT’s online fundraising competition begins today! Let’s see who can raise the most money to help reconnect our wounded warriors with the world!
WHAT: Friendly fundraising competition for Valour-IT.WHEN: October 28th through Veterans Day, November 11th.
WHERE: Based in the blogosphere, spreading everywhere else.
WHY: Because giving wounded warriors with hand and arm injuries access to a computer supports their healing and puts them back in touch with the world.
HOW: Blogger teams will be divided along military branches, with civilians “up for grabs.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You have been a part of our community in one way or another. THANK YOU!
We need you to simply blog and email regularly about Valour-IT and the competition with links to the Team Army donation page. Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT. We’ll be providing media, links, and talking points for your Tweets, Facebook posts and blog posts, etc.
The competition is military branch specific and you’ve been drafted for TEAM ARMY. If you would like to continue receiving emails regarding this competition and Team Army, email me at blackfive-AT-gmail_DOT-com and you’ll be added to a Google Group for TEAM ARMY. If you’d rather be on a team from one of the lesser branches, hit me up and I’ll send you to the appropriate team captain(s).
All future messages will come from: team-army—firstname.lastname@example.org .
Thanks for all of your support!
ALL THE WAY!
Trustee, Soldiers’ Angels
If you can donate a dollar or two, that brings someone in need one step closer to independent communication. It’s such an easy thing to do. So very easy. As easy as clicking on a link such as this one. C’mon, let’s get this thing started!