Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why donate to Valour-IT?

I'm glad to see that the teams are mixing it up well - with Fuzzybear Lioness hijacking the Castle to post for the Marine team. (Run, Fuzzy, Run!) Still, the Army team is currently holding a decent lead in the inter-service rivalry.

Go Army! Beat Navy!!!

Fun aside, there are many reasons to support Project Valour-IT. When it was created, the concept was simple - provide a laptop and voice-activated software to allow wounded servicemembers to communicate with their loved ones. To give them a means of interaction that didn't require someone else at the controls, and to give them a tool for further independence.

If you need help understanding how much it means to have this, be sure to try Chuck's visualization exercise. Go ahead and come back, I'll wait.
So, did you cheat? Now, imagine that you *couldn't* cheat. Because your arms are too hurt and encased in bandages, or maybe one or both are gone. Imagine how you would stay in touch with your buddies back in the sandbox, or with your family and friends back home.

Over the past three years more than 2700 laptops have been distributed, to men and women like Lieutenant Colonel X :

I don't know where to start. I was thrilled and truly appreciative of the laptop donation that Soldiers Angels sent. My neurology team is ecstatic with the progress that I have made, yet we all temper our excitement as I still have a long recovery ahead. Due to the great hearts (sponsors, donors, volunteers and others too numerous to mention) within Soldiers Angels I have become more mobile in my rehabilitation and the laptop is absolutely one of the tools that I have in my recovery toolbox. I use it to keep current on my schedule and have several applications that assist with recovery.

I know that my recovery has been aided by the cards, letters, and notes sent by your Angels. I love to read them and have started to send Thank You's to many of them. I just want you and everyone to know that your organization is a Godsend to Soldiers. Please send this note of Thanks to the appropriate personnel, and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

God Bless You and God Bless America.

Lieutenant Colonel X

Amen to that, sir.

Each year the project has improved, and this year, new technologies have been added for even more impact. One big change is the partnership between Project Valour-IT and the CAP program of the DoD :

Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software that accompanies the laptops, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying patients in need of laptops and other technological support for their recovery.

The program is great, but ... there isn't enough money to meet the needs. As Chuck explains, they need our help. Give up some lattes or mochas, and go pop a few dollars in the pot to keep this program going strong. Help to ensure that all of our injured troops who can benefit from this program get hooked up - with the technology that will help them recover and stay connected to the world around them.

Oh - and make sure you donate right here!

Serve those who have Served

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day and a Call to Action

Today is set aside to honor our Veterans, those men and women who have served, and those who are serving, offering their lives in defense of the United States of America. It's really something we should do every day - take a minute to thank the Vets around you for their service, send cards / letters through Soldiers' Angels, AnySoldier or Books for Soldiers, stop at a VA facility and brighten someone's day -- whatever way works for you. But at least, take the time today to seek out and thank as many Veterans as you can.

Thanks to John and SWWBO, Bill, Dusty, Sgt B, Keith, Heartless Libertarian, ChuckZ, Neptunus Lex, Doc in the Box, Maj Pain and America's Son. Thank you to the whole gang at Blackfive, Greyhawk, Michael Yon, Army Girl, Allie, Joel, MacGyver, and so many others I have met through blogging. And thank you to Max (both of you!), Wendell, Sneddy, Rob, and countless more who I've met over the years.

Thank You - You guys and gals ROCK!

Today is also the perfect day to launch this year's Project Valour-IT event. That's right, it's time to use a little of that inter-service rivalry for a great cause ... the 2008 Valour-IT fundraiser!

Project Valour-IT
(formerly Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops)

In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss

It was the first time I felt whole since I’d woken up wounded in Landstuhl.
–Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled laptop

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Technology supplied includes:

•Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

•Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions.

•Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to TBI and severe PTSD.

The experience of Major Chuck Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops and other technologies can be to a wounded service member's recovery

As a Denizen of Argghhh!, I am joining the Army team ...

Check back for updates! Meanwhile - go read more at the Soldiers Angels site. And then donate to the ARMY team!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sgt B is boots-on-the-ground

I was so wrapped up in election angst that I missed Sgt B posting! He is now boots-on-the-ground in Iraq, and has recognized he isn't in Kansas (or eastern Washington) any more. Godzilla's fangs are exposed ... hoping for quiet, but ready for the alternative.

I'm pretty sure I speak for the Denizennes when I say, we fervently hope it's a boring rotation. With Sgt B and Bill both lounging in Iraq, quiet and boring would suit us just fine!

Speaking of Bill - his latest edition of Argghhh-onauts is up. Keep 'em coming, Bill!