The spotlight shines on...

I've been wanting to post about this for a bit but I tend to jump into things feet first and then get a little overwhelmed by them in the beginning. So it has taken me a while to sort through everything that I am learning about this project in order to write about it here (and to figure out to what extent *I* plan to get myself involved).

Obviously, McGyver is Army. He has two brothers who are also Army. He spent 2 years in ROTC in college and we have many friends from that time in our lives who are still active duty. Then there are the friends we have made during his Army career - too many to count.

A little over a year ago, a close friend of ours was stationed in Tikrit with 4ID. Those of you who recall, Tikrit was a hotbed of activity back then and a lot of it wasn't pretty. Part of me kept waiting for a phone call or an e-mail, indicating that our friend had been hurt or - worse - killed. Morbid, but that is how my brain works. I don't like to be surprised so it's "easier" to run through possible scenarios in my mind in order to avoid being caught off guard (like it's possible to ever prepare for something like that...I know...). When Uncle R was over in Baghdad, the same scenarios ran through my mind. And they are doing so again, now that Uncle K is over there. I am sure my brain will go into hyper-drive once McGyver deploys.

Thanks to improvements in body armor, our soldiers are safer than they ever have been (and I thank the Lord for that each day). But extremities are often left unprotected. CPT Z is a shining example this - he is alive and well but his hands and arms too the brunt of the explosion that almost killed him.

And, while he's alive and well, the injuries to his arms and hands make communication (other than verbal) difficult, if not impossible. This is where Project Valour-IT comes in.

Project Valour IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, provides voice-controlled software and laptop computers to wounded Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand and arm injuries or amputations at major military medical centers. Operating laptops by speaking into a microphone, our wounded heroes are able to send and receive messages from friends and loved ones, surf the 'Net, and communicate with buddies still in the field without having to press a key or move a mouse. The experience of CPT Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important this voice-controlled software can be to a wounded servicemember's recovery.

This effort is gaining momentum and steam every day. Corporate sponsors are climbing on board but more help is needed. Every little bit helps. Trust me - we are not wealthy. Far from it. But I've made the decision to take some of my spending money and put it toward this effort. Along with that, I am getting the word out the best way I know how - right here. This cause is a worthy one. It reaches out to everyone - regardless of your views on the war, the current administration, the U.S. foreign policy, Cindy Sheehan...

Many people claim to "support the troops but not the war". If that is the case, I would challenge you to put your money where your mouth is. How hard is it to come up with $10? I can scrounge that from the coins in the car. Can you?

I dare you. Are you chicken??

So, this time around, the spotlight shines on Project Valour-IT and all of the good that this effort represents. Every day (or, as often as time allows) I will be posting links to articles and blog entries about this effort as a way of keeping it fresh in your mind. Please, pass this information along to anyone and everyone you know who might be interested in helping out (and even those who may not...).


- hfs

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