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October 23, 2009

Join the A-Team... You Know You Want To!

Who does America call when something absolutely, positively must be destroyed overnight?

US-Marine-Rat.jpg
U.S. Marine Rat

That's right... America's 911 Force: the Few. The Loud. The Marine team!

We're still looking for a few good blogs to help us raise money for Project Valour IT. The competition starts Monday, October 26th and though the Marines are the smallest service, we're planning to chew through the competition. But to do that, we need your help.

Project Valour IT provides laptops with voice activated software to wounded soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen recovering at military medical centers all across America. Typically these young men and women spend up to two years healing and undergoing physical therapy. Their courage, determination, and unfailing esprit de corps are truly inspiring. Most of us, facing the loss of our eyesight, an arm or a leg and repeated surgeries would just crumble up into a ball. Not these guys. They're warriors:

He knows they're going to stare. They always stare.

As soon as Pat Murray steps in the elevator, they'll notice his prosthetic leg and maybe accurately surmise that, yes, he is an Iraq war veteran, and, yes, he got blown up. Then the sadness will sink in, the pity, and they'll give him that look, which he can sense even if he doesn't see, and it will be an uncomfortable few floors up.

So as Murray approaches the elevator and the woman thrusts her hand between the closing doors for him, he says, "Careful, you can lose a limb that way."

"Oooh," the woman says, noticing Murray's metal leg. She's obviously shocked, unsure of what to say or how to act. Murray flashes a smile, lets loose an "it's okay" chuckle, and suddenly the ride up isn't nearly so awkward after all.

It's that type of humor -- spontaneous (he once asked his doctor when his leg would grow back), cunning (he tells children who ask about his "robot" leg that he didn't eat his vegetables) and, at times, gruesome (there are stump jokes that can't be printed here) -- that helped him come to terms with the fact that his right leg is no more.

It was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that Murray, who was a corporal in the Marine Corps, not only learned to walk again, but to laugh. Although doctors and therapists can patch up the physical wounds of war, it is often the humor -- soldier to soldier, Marine to Marine, patient to patient -- that in the space of a punch line can heal as well as the best medicine.

It's not unusual for these young men and women to take up bungee jumping, skydiving, or participate in marathons or other extreme sports even after losing a limb. But that long period where they're confined to their hospital beds can be the worst of all. Project Valour IT provides them with a way to escape the confines of their rooms and keep in touch with buddies, friends and family members. For many wounded vets, it's a tangible reminder that they're still part of the world outside Bethesda or Walter Reed: that there is life after being wounded.

Valour IT is one of my favorite military charities. I've supported it every year and led the Marine Team to raise over $51,000 in 2006. My co-captain Carrie and I are planning two weeks of fun, jokes, Marine history, culture, heroes and more. Carrie's son is headed over to Afghanistan and my husband is already over there, so we both have good reason to support the great work Valour IT is doing.

Valour IT is a cause you can support with confidence that your donation will be well spent. Every dollar raised goes directly to wounded vets at the following military medical centers as well as VA treatment centers nationwide:

* Balboa Naval Hospital

* Brooke Army Medical Center

* Madigan Regional Medical Center

* National Naval Medical Center (Bethesda Naval Hospital)

* Naval Hospital, Camp Pendleton

* Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital (29 Palms)

* Walter Reed Army Medical Center

So now you have the mission. What we need now is a strong team. Please sign up for the Marine team, and tell all your friends. You can join here and see the great blogs who've already proudly donned the title, "Marine team".

But most of all, remember -- we're planning to have fun. Because although they're all business, no one rocks the house like the United States Marine Corps:

Posted by Cassandra at October 23, 2009 03:11 PM

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Comments

Fantastic post! I can't wait to see what you come up with, as it occurs to me that with a husband deployed you will have lots of time and energy to expend on this... ;)

Seriously, this is gonna be great!

Posted by: FbL at October 23, 2009 04:21 PM

I have enjoyed your site for years and was saddened when you shut down for a while. My wife is back and forth with deployments and is on her way to Iraq right now. She is Army but patches up Marines, too, and has flown back several to Bethesda. You describe the bitter-sweet feelings of deployment like no one else.

Posted by: philip at October 24, 2009 12:35 AM

These guys are getting ready to be shot at. I can't say I like that.

Posted by: Mark McGilvray at October 24, 2009 02:58 AM

Philip:

Please tell your wife she (and you) will be in my prayers. Your kind words mean more to me than you will ever know. Thank you for your support of what your wife is doing - I know the toll deployments take on a family.

It takes a strong spouse to be the anchor. When this war is finally over, perhaps we'll figure out how to thank all of you who have given so much.

Posted by: Cassandra at October 24, 2009 01:12 PM

Even though my dad was an Army man, he would be proud that I've joined your team. He stormed the beaches of Normandy and taught me to love my country. He's gone now, but I don't think he'd mind my being on the Marine Team.

Thanks for all your hard work, Cassandra. Please thank your husband for me for his service to this nation and God bless.

Posted by: No Sheeples Here! at October 25, 2009 05:07 AM

Cool video - they're all having fun - pretty amazing considering the dangers that are lurking all around them - they're living large, doing their jobs and loving lie. God Bless 'em all.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 25, 2009 10:42 PM

Cool video - they're all having fun - pretty amazing considering the dangers that are lurking all around them - they're living large, doing their jobs and loving life. God Bless 'em all.

Posted by: I Call BS at October 25, 2009 10:42 PM

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