All posts in “Project VALOUR-IT”

valour-it

Project Valour-IT: Team Navy (& Coast Guard!) and the 2012 Competition

As announced over at Soldier’s Angels:
Calling All Angels…  This is a big one! For seven years, Project Valour-IT has been supplying voice-controlled and other adaptive laptops to severely wounded heroes who need to stay connected while they recover, or who are building a new life as they transition out of the military.  That’s over 6,000 laptops for wounded heroes!
Every week brings more wounded troops home from the battlefield, but donations for Valour-IT are not keeping pace with their needs.  To maintain this amazing project, Soldiers’ Angels is holding a very special fundraiser from Independence Day (July 4th) through Labor Day (September 3).
Divided among four “virtual teams” named in honor of U.S. military service branches, the fundraising goal is to bring in at least $100,000 through friendly inter-service rivalry.   This amount should be able to provide about 250 laptops for wounded heroes who an accessible computer to reconnect and build new lives. These heroes have literally sacrificed parts of their bodies in service to our country.  As we celebrate the freedoms their service has given us, let us renew our efforts to ensure they have what they need to build their own new lives as wounded warriors.  How can we give them less?

The Valour-IT project is something this site has been involved with since it’s earliest days.  We’re at it again this year, as part of Team Navy (see the contribution button up there in the left corner?  How about hitting it?!) There’s been some pitched competition between the teams – but of late the ardor (and alas, contributions) appear to have cooled.  Let’s see if we can kick this up a notch or two.  In years past there have been some videos rolled out, and as we noted during the 2007 competition:

 I’m sure someone has put together a slide show set to (trite) tear-jerking music.

Yeah…

We opted for something kick@$$ instead…

So, here’s a blast from the past: a familiar video – but with some twists, courtesy Team Navy:

Catching Up

Much has been going within and outside the household these past several weeks – and that explains a lot of the paucity of posts of late. Foremost amongst these was the passing of my wife’s father, a Korean War vet, railroad worker and longtime sufferer of Alzheimer’s. Word to the wise — if you haven’t had “the talk” with your parents and, depending on your relationship, your in-laws about living wills, advanced directives, hospice, and other end of life decisions, you are only denying the inevitable and setting yourself up for an even more difficult scenario at the very time when you need clear thinking. I add in-laws because like as not, you will be the go to person when faced with that scenario. Have that discussion, plan out the branches and sequels and write it down so you are ready at the drop of a hat — because even if you are dealing with a disease (or collection thereof) which have been grinding slowly, inexorably on for years, decades even, the end may come suddenly, in days or even hours and these days time is not on your side for research and deliberation. While you are at it, add a wifi/3G enabled iPad/tablet to your list. My iPad was invaluable during the course of the past week with quick access to a variety of needed sites and online forms, especially where the VA was concerned. Do this and while it won’t make the hurt and loss any less, it will significantly reduce the stress and anxiety levels for ALCON, and that in the long run will pay dividends. Above all, keep and call upon your faith – remember Isaiah 40:31

A week(plus) ago we kicked off the annual fund raising drive for Valour-IT, the program that through Soldier’s Angels provides IT solutions for our wounded service members who are otherwise unable to avail themselves of conventional methods of accessing computers and other IT devices you and I take for granted on a daily basis.   Folks – I know times are beastly hard,but the measure of a society is how it cares for and supports those who face physical and mental challenges in the course of their daily lives. Doubly so for those who have made the sacrifice in service to that society. There are an abundance of charities out there covering almost every cause (most worthy, others maybe less so) – heaven knows, you only need pick up the annual Combined Federal Campaign book listing them to see. Project Valour-IT is one of those rare charities where 100% of what you donate goes to helping the wounded vet and not providing overstuffed furniture in some palatial headquarters office or a six-figure salary for a charity CEO. It is why this is the one charity I will support (outside of our church and tithing) monetarily (others we provide our time). Look over to the top right side and you’ll find two widgets — one to learn more and another to donate. Yes, we have a “friendly” competition going on between Service related teams, but in the end the money all goes into the same pot and all we get is bragging rights (which at the moment, ahem, it appears Team Army is running away with). We’re entering the home stretch and there is a long ways to go to meet this year’s goal of $25K for Team Navy. How about pitching in?

Sometimes I get notes offline (and you can write to me here if so moved) asking about why I hadn’t addressed a certain event or topic, or if I had, why I was late to the game. One of the self-imposed restrictions I set on myself was to swing to the cautious side in certain topics that may relate to my real world job. It is altogether too easy to allow what in the vernacular is called “spillage” if you get on a roll and unintentionally reveal that which shouldn’t surface in this arena. The figleaf of blogger anonymity only goes so far if you stretch beyond hit-rates that exceed single digits on a weekly basis (which we have occasion to do here). On more than one occasion I’ve spiked my own draft based on that degree of conservative approach only to see it substantially posted elsewhere. Selah – my conscience is clear and the wolves of unemployment remain stayed at the outer gates. Still, I’ll continue to find some way to bring a perspective to certain topics that is lacking in the broader blogsphere that are sourced from daily experience – like a recent trip that included getting into the guts of surface-to-air and ballistic missiles that cemented concepts and engineering principles studied from afar while illustrating the problems of proliferation (like my up close and personal look at an application of pyrolytic-reinforced graphite).

Finally – there are several articles in the bullpen or warming up – many dealing with the ongoing observation of the Naval Aviation Centenary (including a look at operations in the Alaskan theater of operations). As the saying goes – more to follow…

w/r, SJS

P.S.  Oh and standby — more coming down the pike re. the Naval Institute and it doesn’t look good for the home team.

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Project Valour-IT: A Little Upfront/Straight Talk. . .

8 Nov update: Four days left folks- let’s make it count!!

Let’s set aside the competition for a minute and talk straight to the heart of the matter. Fact is, the need is great and growing. Our wounded warriors number in the tens of thousands, the majority of which would benefit in one way or another from the solutions being offered through Valour-IT:

- Soldiers’ Angels is responding to unmet needs-specific requests of medical personnel, and are working directly with personnel to identify individual needs (such as for the laptops).
- As the military/VA are more effectively meeting the tech needs of severely wounded in-hospital, we are finding new needs that are not being met.” (DoD and VA are starting to make voice-controlled computers available in-hospital, but not necessarily when patients leave and not necessarily laptops).
- Soldier’s Angels will continue to provide voice-activated laptops to severely wounded as a priority, where needed (6-10 a month at the moment).
- Physical therapists report Wii Sports and similar programs are extremely motivational and helpful in physical therapy and are requesting support in procuring them (hardware & software).
- Personal and vehicle GPS are needed for wounded with TBI and severe PTSD-helps keep them from getting lost and disoriented when they move to more independent living after initial in-hospital recovery or after being med-boarded out.
- Soldier’s Angels will also make laptops and desktops available to severely wounded leaving the service who need them for retraining, job hunting, etc.

As great as that need is, the need for your support is greater. Before this year’s fund drive began the coffers were near empty. There is no Federal, state or other governmental or non-governmental funding for Valour-IT — you are it. At the same time, no other organization can provide the direct, undistilled benefit to those in need like Valour-IT. Yes, times are tough and the current state of the economy does little to inspire near-term confidence. And yet — and yet for say, $20, about the price for a dinner for a family of four at a fast food joint, you have already started the process. Talk to a couple of friends, convince them to pass on the high bucks coffee for a week and contribute instead and in short order, ecce, another warrior is matched with a laptop, a wii or another technological device that will significantly help them down the road to recovery.

So here, today, right now — here is something you can do to make a difference. Make a donation – $10 or a thousand. Any and all amounts are welcomed – all put to immediate and good use. Make it via a team or direct to the site, please. The time is short, the need great and your thoughtful consideration and donation welcome. And tell someone you know…
- SJS

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VALOUR-IT Fundraiser, 2010 Edition Underway!

And we’re off…!

The 2010 edition of the Project Valour-IT fundraiser is underway and once again, Team Navy is one of the participating teams.

But what, you may ask, is Valour-IT?  What is it all about?

The short story is Valour-IT, an IRS-certified non-profit, non-political, volunteer organization provides technology aids  to wounded Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen in military and (thanks to coordination with the Military Order of the Purple Heart) VA hospitals. These aids enable severely injured servicemen and women to remain in contact with family and friends in spite of those injuries. Originally, the program focused on laptops with voice activated software, but that has expanded to include:

  • Voice-controlled Laptops – Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.
  • Wii Video Game Systems – Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions (donated only to medical facilities).
  • Personal GPS – Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to severe TBI and severe PTSD.
  • Each year, in support of this good work, milbloggers come together to engage in a friendly competition — heated, but friendly. Teams are purely for the sake of friendly competition, building on the natural inter-service rivalries of the U.S. Military.  Competition winners get “bragging rights,” but the true winners are the wounded warriors who benefit from the results of the friendly competition.  All funds raised go into the same Valour-IT account and are used to assist any wounded service member in need of Valour-IT’s support, regardless of his or her service branch.

    All kidding aside, let’s be clear about something – the need is great: tens of thousands of service members have returned wounded from combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine what a boost it would be to that young Marine, an Army officer who is a husband and father, or a Sailor in a burn unit with third degree burns on her hands to be able to reach out from their hospital beds and contact distant friends and families, and how much that can help in the recovery process.

    So please, contribute during the 2010 fund drive via your preferred team – every single penny donated goes directly to the purchase and delivery of technology; all overhead is funded or provided from other sources.  The contribution button over there to starboard will get you started…and thanks, from me, from Team Navy and especially, from those who have given so much.

    Oh, and did I mention the contribution button?  You know, the one over there to the right. . . 

    Valour-IT 2009: Video Competition

    So, its like this.  A competition is being held within the competition between the teams for best Valour-IT video.

    I’m sure someone has put together a slide show set to (trite) tear-jerking music.

    We didn’t.  We opted for some kick@$$ instead…

    So, a familiar video – but with some twists, courtesy Team Navy:

    Oh yes – did we mention that contribution widget over there to the right? It’s feeling a mite bit lonely these days, so how about showing it some love?

    Project Valour-IT 2009: Stuff? We Got Stuff…

    SAOfficialLogoThere’s that Nolan Ryan autographed baseball that has continued to elude you, or perhaps a personalized copy of Jim Stavridis’ Destroyer Captain strikes your fancy. . .maybe a signed print especially made for this year’s campaign by Chris Muir of Day-by-Day is high on your ‘most desired’ list ?

    These and much more are over on ebay for bid with all proceeds going to Valour-IT.  Mosey on over and take a look on a regular basis as more items are being added by the day.

    In the meantime – there’s the link over there to starboard that needs a little love, so how about a visit?

    Saturday at the Movies: Midway

    No, not that one — this is original footage shot by John Ford and his cameramen at Midway during the attack.  This version of the classic film has been cleaned up and redone in hi-res – quite a feat considering the state of film at the time.  Be sure to watch in HD and full screen.  Some particulars from the email with the link:

    When Ford viewed the rushes that he had taken at Midway — the massive explosions, the debris slamming into the camera, the spectacular raising of the flag amongst black clouds of ruin — he knew he had something special. But in a way, the material was too good — sure to be heavily redacted by the Navy as too frightful and disturbing for public consumption. So in Washington soon after the battle, the wily director secretly passed the reels to one of his young field photo editors, the former child actor Robert Parrish, and asked him to cut it down to a decent twenty-minute documentary. “Is it for the public or the OSS ?” Parrish asked.
    “It’s for the mothers of America ,” Ford shot back. “It’s to let them know that we’re in a war, and that we’ve been getting the #### kicked out of us for five months, and now we’re starting to hit back.” (h/t Battle of Midway Roundtable)

    And now . . . John Ford’s Battle of Midway:

    By the way – how about stopping by the Valour-IT site (hit that thermometer up in the right corner there and it’ll take you there) and dropping a fin (or three) for Team Navy in appreciation ?

    The vast editorial staff here heartily recommends it and you will have made a difference in the life of someone who has given so much for us.

    VALOUR-IT Fundraiser, 2009 Edition Underway!

    090703-N-6538W-013

    Valour-IT09_fullsizeAnd we’re off…!

    The 2009 edition of the Project Valour-IT fundraiser is underway and once again, Team Navy is one of the participating teams.

    But what, you may ask, is Valour-IT?  What is it all about?

    The short story is Valour-IT, an IRS-certified non-profit, non-political, volunteer organization provides technology aids  to wounded Soldiers, Marines, Sailors and Airmen in military and (thanks to coordination with the Military Order of the Purple Heart) VA hospitals. These aids enable severely injured servicemen and women to remain in contact with family and friends in spite of those injuries. Originally, the program focused on laptops with voice activated software., but that has expanded to include GPS systems and Wii game systems.  Since it began in 2005, Valour-IT has provided over over 4100 laptops to individual veterans, over 30 Wii game systems to VA facilities for physical therapy sessions, and over 100 handheld GPS systems to aid veterans with head injuries (TBI).

    Each year, in support of this good work, milbloggers come together to engage in a friendly competition — heated, but friendly. Teams are purely for the sake of friendly competition, building on the natural inter-service rivalries of the U.S. Military.  Competition winners get “bragging rights,” but the true winners are the wounded warriors who benefit from the results of the friendly competition.  All funds raised go into the same Valour-IT account and are used to assist any wounded service member in need of Valour-IT’s support, regardless of his or her service branch.

    All kidding aside, let’s be clear about something – the need is great: tens of thousands of service members have returned wounded from combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. Imagine what a boost it would be to that young Marine, an Army officer who is a husband and father, or a Sailor in a burn unit with third degree burns on her hands to be able to reach out from their hospital beds and contact distant friends and families, and how much that can help in the recovery process.

    So please, contribute during the 2009 fund drive via your preferred team – every single penny donated goes directly to the purchase and delivery of technology; all overhead is funded or provided from other sources.  The contribution button over there to starboard will get you started…and thanks, from me, from Team Navy and especially, from those who have given so much.

    Oh, and did I mention the contribution button?  You know, the one over there to the right?


    Project Valour IT – Naval Aviation Factoid: 25 Nov

    OK Gang — looks like Team Army finally had the reserve forces join tem and have taken the lead by over $9K. Time to man up, pony up and take the lead back. Remember, its all fr a good cause and every little bit helps. – SJS


    25 Nov 1961: The world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, USS Enterprise (CVAN-65) was commissioned at Newport News, Va., Captain Vincent P. DePoix commanding.

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