Saturday, November 19, 2005

Wrap up and follow up - New Links!

Added 11/19
Matt has an update on Sgt. Wright posted at Blackfive, straight from the Marine's mouth.

Original post

The blogger challenge was a great success - with $88k raised for Project Valour-IT! A huge Thank You to everyone who participated, and who donated to this terrific cause!

During the first week of the challenge, I displayed a picture of a young Marine saluting proudly. I found that great picture at Capt B's One Marine's View, and used it to illustrate the point.

I didn't know the Marine's name or how he came to be wounded. I had no clue when the picture was taken, or what he was up to since that day. This weekend, by sheer luck, I found some of the details to fill in the blanks, and I think the story just got even better.

First -- the original picture, with a proper caption ...

Sgt. James 'Eddie' WrightSgt. James Wright, who received the Bronze Star Medal with valor device from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, salutes during the national anthem at the June 1, 2004 presentation ceremony in front of the Marine Corps War Memorial in Arlington, Va. Wright was given a speed boat as appreciation for his actions while serving in Iraq. Photo by: Cpl. Richard Stephens

During the fight, a round from a rocket-propelled grenade struck his humvee and changed the Marine’s life forever.

The blast severed both of Wright’s hands and severely wounded his left leg. Incredibly, Wright maintained his composure, instructing his Marines to use a radio to call for help and to apply tourniquets to his wounds. Wright also directed his Marines to concentrate fire on enemy machine gun positions, assisting in the demise of 26 enemy fighters. For his actions, Wright was later presented the Bronze Star Medal with combat distinguishing device for valor.

As I finished the article, I realized two things : Sgt. Wright is from Seattle, Washington -and- he has just been presented with the gift of a fine custom speed boat by a San Diego based company called Ultra Boats.

click to read article
Jason Ewing of Ultra Boats shows Marine Sgt. James 'Eddie' Wright, who lost both hands in a combat-related explosion while serving in Iraq last year, the interior of Wright's new 28-foot, custom-made powerboat. The vessel is specially outfitted so that Wright can drive the boat using his prosthetic arms, before the boat was put in the water at Camp Pendleton on Thursday. The boat was given to Wright as part of a reality television show called 'Rock the Boat.'
HAYNE PALMOUR IV Staff Photographer

Check out some of the details of Sgt. Wright's new boat :

The 425-horsepower boat was custom-airbrushed with scuba-fitted skeletons ---- a stylized Marine reconnaissance team ---- swimming through blue flames with Wright at the lead ---- his new prosthetic arms with hooks in full stroke.

The powerful speed, ski and scuba vessel was rigged with voice-controlled navigational and operational gear that can be operated by Wright alone.

Sounds familiar, doesn't it?

If there are any Southern California based folks reading this - please tell your friends and neighbors to consider a visit to Ultra Custom Boats for their next boat purchase. This is the kind of military supporting business we need to encourage!!

Well done, John and Leah West -- Good on You!


The Ultra Boats site notes that the Outdoor Life Network (OLN TV) runs a series called Rock the Boat. An episode showing the custom design of this special boat will air again on Sunday night, Nov. 20th, at 7pm Pacific time. Sounds like a LOT more fun than 60 minutes to me !! Check your local listings, just be case.