For the past few weeks this site’s attention has been focused on the Project VALOUR-IT 2009 fundraiser, and forgoing other topics in the interest of keeping it upfront.  Now that the campaign is over, we’ll use this post to catch up on a couple of items put on ice during that time.

I.  Thanks and Appreciation.

Patina_Barnstar_with_Helm_BZ_2 I hold to the idea of this country’s exceptionalism – and one of the strengths of this country are the people with the heart of a volunteer.  The recently completed Valour-IT campign was possible only because of the volunteers who put in untold hours (days/weeks/… you get the picture) worth of effort.  I want to take a moment to highlight and pass my thanks and appreciation to the following whose efforts were mostly behind the public veil and in no way sought the public light for themselves:

  • Mary R. at USNI’s blog:  Mary stepped to the plate early on and accepted the mantle as Team Navy’s lead.  No mean feat as this entailed coordinating, cajoling and motivating a diverse group of Navy-centric milbloggers.  She was instrumental in acquiring items for the auction and serving as the interface with the larger organization and outsiders.  For someone relatively new to the game (USNI blog has been online for less than a year) she deserves strong applause for her efforts.
  • Xformed @ chaoticsynapticactivity: The old hand at the Valour-IT campaign, xformed was the business developer behind the scenes, bursting with ideas for pushing the campaign into new and unfamiliar territory.  One of the ideas, decidedly low tech, may have turned out to be our biggest advertising point with 2nd and 3rd order effects well past the formal end of the fundraiser.  “Bravo Zulu” (and I’ve got some ideas for next year BTW)
  • Jeff Bacon of Broadsides: Jeff came aboard at first call and has been a strong supporter.  I think his contribution had substantially more impact than other cartoonists with a national exposure supporting the other teams.  Jeff — hope t see you back next year!
  • Phil Ewing @ ScoopDeck:  Phil was another from the traditional media side who pitched in and highlighted Team Navy’s efforts, again giving us a larger platform and audience tha we’ve had in year’s past.  Like Jeff, we hope to see you back next year!
  • Maggie @ Boston Maggie:  At once both team cheerleader and enforcer, the drumbeat of support and advocacy to outside organizations and entities combined with the emails to team members (ever seen a virtual whip cracked?  Yeah – I hadn’t either 😉 ) kept the effort going.  And her efforts haven’t ended with the end of the campaign either – we’ll leave that to her to discuss further.  Just remember what I said about the strength of this country being in the hearts of its volunteers…
  • Team Navy:  With the odds stacked against us before even the green flag was waved, you all still persevered and in an economic climate that is still less than shining, enabled us to cross the finish line with more than half of our goal met.  Congrats to Team Marines and Army for their finishes as well.  Ditto Team Air Force.  Oh, and I would definitely be lax if I didn’t mention Coast Guard too who joined Team Navy this year.  Thanks to all who worked, cajoled, bargained and bartered to provide the needed funds for our wounded heros.  Those folks are the real winners and you all kept that forefront throughout the competition.
  • Finally, you the readers and contributors, without whom the effort would have completely foundered.  Thank you from the bottom of our collective hearts for your generosity – all total, over $103,000 was raised in a few short weeks.

II.  Thanks and Appreciation (II)

Shortly before the Valour-IT campaign began, we attended the commissioning of the USS Wayne E. Meyer (DDG 108) in Philadelphia, by way of invitation of the PAO and XO.  I say “we” because the Steeljaw tribe turned out in force for the (very wet) drive up to Philly to witness the ceremony, held at Penns Landing.  What a great forum for a commissioning as it lent itself to being near the ship and what a crowd of attendees, ranging from CJCS, ADM Mullen to vets from WWII several of whom showed up in their uniforms.  Great looking ship and crew – more than enough to make even this ol’ brown shoe wish he was headed back to sea.  Thanks for making this a memorable day for all concerned…

Here’s wishing the Wayne E. Meyer and all who sail in her safety in peace and victory in battle.

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P.S.  If you look close (and of course, know what to look for) you will see the assembled SJS clan 🙂