It is that time of year again — time for the annual Project Valour-IT blog competition! Each year, bloggers sign up to represent the different branches of the military to help raise funds for a great cause: Project Valour-IT. While all of the money goes to the same place, the team that raises the most money gets bragging rights — and as the team leader for the Marines, I’m hoping that the Marines will be the winners for the second year in a row!
Why am I supporting the Marines? Well, my husband is a Marine. He’s deployed to Afghanistan right now. We’ve lost Marines in our unit, and I have friends in other deployed units that have also lost Marines. Then there are the Marines who are not killed, but are injured — Marines who can benefit from a wonderful program like Project Valour-IT.
Project Valour-IT does so much good work for wounded warriors. Here’s an example of some of what they do:
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 (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 CPT 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 Captain 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.
In sharing their thoughts, CPT Ziegenfuss (now a Major) 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.
In the years since its founding in 2005, the project has acted to meet emerging needs and its mission of supporting the the severely wounded has expanded. In addition to voice-controlled laptops, Valour-IT now helps provide active and whole-body video games such as Wii Sports, which is used to great effect in physical therapy, and personal GPS systems that help compensate for short-term memory loss and organizational/spacial challenges common in those with brain injuries.
So far, Project Valour-IT has provided over 4100 voice-activated laptops to wounded veterans. They also provide Wii game systems to help build motivation and speed recovery through whole body game systems, and handheld GPS devices to help wounded vets regain confidence and independence.
This is truly a great charity that deserves our help. So won’t you please donate a little to give to the warriors who sacrifice so much for us? Our goal this year is for each team to raise $15,000 by the end of the campaign, which is November 11th.
And of course, if you do decide to donate, you should of course donate to the Marine team. We’re usually one of the smallest teams, but we have the most heart!
Here’s how you can help support the Marine team to benefit Project Valour-IT.
You can visit the Marine team’s page, or donate through the widget below. There’s also a Valour-IT auction where you can bid on military books, memorabilia, etc.; the winning bidder can (unless otherwise specified) choose which team the funds go to. If you have a blog, you can sign up to join the Marine team here.
So, let the competition begin! Here’s a video to get your USMC spirits up, and please, get to donating!