I am participating in an online fundraiser called Project VALOUR-IT, Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops. One hundred percent of your donation to Project Valour-IT will be used to purchase the laptop computers that will provide independence and freedom to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines. As of October 2007, Valour-IT has distributed over 1500 laptops to severely wounded military members across the country.
In honor of my late uncle Col. William Traynor, USMC (Ret.); and my friend Cpl. Bobby Wold, USMC, currently deployed in Iraq, and all Marines, I have chosen to post a Team Marines graphic (right) for some friendly interservice competition, but all of the money raised goes into a single fund.
How did this program get started? From the Soldiers' Angels web site:
Project Valour-IT began when 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 Captain Ziegenfuss' fellow wounded soldiers and started cast about for a way to get it to them.
A fellow blogger (blog author) who writes under the pseudonym FbL contacted CPT Ziegenfuss and the two realized they shared a vision of providing laptops with voice-controlled software to wounded soldiers whose injuries prevented them from operating a standard computer. FbL contacted Soldiers' Angels who offered to help develop the project, and Project Valour-IT was born.
Bloggers and their readers have a special understanding of how significant this program can be to a wounded warrior's rehabilitation and recovery. Please chip in what you can to help the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who through their sacrifices have shown us that freedom is not free. (Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer based, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.)