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October 26, 2009

Project Valour IT - Who, What, When, Where, Why (and How!)

marines.jpgMarines, lovers of Marines, and those who wish they could be Marines (IOW, the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard), listen up! It's time to do what the Marine Corps does best: shake, rattle, roll and make some noise:

From October 26th until November 11th we few - we happy few here at VC - will carry the battle colors for the Project Valour IT Marine Corps fund raising team (which the cool kids on the block realize is the ONLY team you want to be on). Do NOT be fooled by snake oil salesmen who seduce you with sleazy slogans like "An Army of Fun"... or "Sailor's Wife...it's the toughest job in the Navy", or "My friends used to wonder/Why I joined the Air Force..." :D

All you need to know about why you want to be on the Marine team is here: this is what America is fighting for. We're just better-looking, durnitall!

What is all the fuss about, you might ask? The purpose of this post is to give you all the information you need.

Project Valour IT is simply this: grateful Americans, providing voice-activated laptops and other helpful tech gear to severely wounded troops. As VC's resident Tech Wench, the blog princess cannot help but approve of such a noble endeavor. The story behind this project is a moving one:

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. 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 casting about for a way to get it to them.

A fellow blogger who writes under the pseudonym FbL contacted Captain Ziegenfuss and the two realized they shared a vision of creating libraries of laptops with voice-controlled software that could be brought to the bedsides of 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.

In sharing their thoughts, CPT Ziegenfuss and FbL found that memories of their respective fathers were a motivating factor in their work with the project. Both continue their association with this project in memory of the great men in their lives whose fine examples taught them lasting lessons of courage and generosity.

Fathers have a lasting impact on us. Mothers teach, nurture, and sustain us but fathers are our first bridge to the outside world. They are the ones who challenge us, who take the training wheels off and show us how fast we can go and what the rules of the road are. They don't let us rest on our laurels - they constantly prod us out of our comfort zone; inspiring us to reach deep down inside and find qualities we never knew we had. They teach us to compete with others instead of folding, to try just a bit harder, not to give up when the going gets tough. They encourage us when our confidence is flagging.

Like Chuck Ziegenfuss' father and Fbl's, my father and father in law served in Vietnam. Over the next ten or so days I'll be giving you lots of reasons to support the Marine team and more importantly, to support Project Valour IT. But my first two donations will be made in honor of my Dad and my husband's Dad.

If you're a blogger, you can join a team here. You will get button code so your readers can make donations (see below) that will be credited to your team.

There's a blogroll in my sidebar for Marine team members. I will send you the code upon request. Some folks have enough blogrolls on their sites. I don't want to burden folks who don't want it, but this is another way to raise your 'rank' in the ecosystem if you aspire to Flappy Mammary status or higher.

If you wish to donate, simply click on the "Marines" link below:

You can pay by credit card or electronic check. You can also mail a check (with MARINES in all caps on it!) to this address:

Soldiers Angels Project Valour-IT
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104

If you're tight on money, try to give a small amount. It adds up! But challenge yourselves - maybe there's something you could give up for a week or two. Too often we let opportunities to help others slip on by, but these young men and women deserve better from us. There are other ways you can support Valour IT as well:

* Blog and email your friends about Valour-IT and the competition

* Tell your friends, family and neighbors about Valour-IT

* Challenge your co-workers or employer to match donations

* Consider involving clubs, churches, or charitable organizations you are involved with. Maybe your church would designate all or part of a Sunday collection. How about Scouts or your favorite civic organization?

* Post flyers around your neighborhood

* If you have any contacts in the media (local or national newspapers, radio, TV, PLEASE spread the word! Point them to the Project Valour IT site, not VC, though!

* No matter which way you decide to get involved, remind everyone to specify the MARINE TEAM!

And remember: in the next few weeks we'll be enjoying some good old fashioned inter service rivalry. But at the end of the day what really matters is not which team you support but that you find it in your hearts to support a worthwhile cause. Our wounded vets have given more in the service of our country than most of us will ever be able to repay. Parting with a few semolians is little enough, but it's a good start.

Project Valour IT offers a way for us to tell our armed forces we have not forgotten their sacrifices. Your contribution will help keep them connected to the world as they heal. It will remind them they are NOT alone - that they still have something to contribute, they are still a vital part of this nation, and even though they may have lost parts of themselves they can never recover, though they may temporarily be feeling hopeless, helpless, even alone, they aren't.

Someone remembers. Someone still cares and more importantly, respects and honors their service. Please dig deep. You cannot know the value of the comfort your support can bring to those who have already given so much on our behalf.

Thank you.

With love and gratitude,


Posted by Cassandra at October 26, 2009 04:11 AM

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I linked you and LMA,
but you'll forgive my Navy spin, I hope.

Posted by: smitty at October 26, 2009 07:41 AM

Thank you so much for such a beautiful post. As I read the last half,I kept thinking, "She gets it!"

And thank you especially for the words about fathers, you described my father perfectly. I only had him around for 11 years, but he left an indelible mark on me, a standard that I continually strive to reach..

Posted by: FbL at October 26, 2009 08:08 AM